Author: Katie Malcom
“Name_____ (birth date – death date) passed away peacefully surrounded by his/her family,” begins a majority of the obituaries on Pensacola Memorial Garden’s website, including my mom’s. My mom took her last breath on September 18th at 11:23pm with me, my dad, grandmother, aunt and great uncle. She was surrounded by her family. It was as “peaceful” as you can imagine dying could be- which honestly, isn’t everything the movies say it is. All you can do is sit there, hold her hand, tell her you love her, and hope that she’s moving to a better place, out of pain. She died with her eyes open. I could literally see the light fall out of her eyes. Her body stiffen up as her heart stopped beating. I cried and cried and cried.
I was a freshman in college, and as I finish up that first year, I miss her more and more everyday. I work on the ropes course at school, and all I want to do is call her and tell her about all the cool things that I get to do. I wish I could call and tell her about how my best friend and I have morning cuddles, similar to what we used to do some Saturday mornings. I wish I could tell her about my boyfriend, how he will never be as good as massaging my back as she did. I wish I could tell her about how much my professor complains about how we are destroying the environment, and how much I am loving learning in that class. If only I could tell her about making “A’s” and “B’s” this semester. There are many more things I wish I could tell her I was experiencing at college.
Everyone can remember how much work college was, but also how much fun it was. With multiple classes and jobs, I found no energy to keep moving forward. I was losing my faith in my Lord, my dad, the healing power of cheese dip, and myself. I didn’t want to get out of bed, nonetheless read a textbook for class. Then one day, I picked up my mom’s Bible and starting to look through it. I noticed her notes, old pictures she used as bookmarks, laughed at her old, goofy glasses in those pictures, and soaked in the wisdom she left in the margins. One book that stood out was Psalm, chapter 46, verses 1-2: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.”
Now, you might be wondering how I have gotten through it all… well, let me tell you, regardless of how old you are, this pain in unavoidable. It sucks, let’s be real. Almost everything you try will be like a band-aid; it will get older and crumbly and fall off. Sometimes it will feel like the entire world is against you, and the only thing that will help is ice cream and netflix (which honestly, helps a little and going back to the cheese dip, it has restored its healing power). But reading through Psalm has reminded me that even on my bad days, God is there, with open arms and ears, ready to take you in. We have nothing to fear because God has our backs. When the day comes and you have to say goodbye, don’t… Tell them you love them, that everything is going to be okay, and that you’ll see them soon.