No time for ugly cries

We’ve all had those mornings when you’re running around, trying to get breakfast made AND eaten, lunches made, permission slips signed, finding the backpacks, throwing in a load of laundry, loading up the dishwasher, getting kids out the door, etc. It’s manic, it’s crazy, and someone is always yelling whether it’s me or the kids.

This morning was no different with one exception. A-fig picked up a ring off the counter and wanted to wear it to school. Normally not a big deal but the ring was very special. It was one of my mother’s rings. It’s one of the few things I have that belonged to her.

In all the morning chaos I’m trying to explain to my son why he can’t wear that ring to school. It went something like this:

Me: Baby, that ring was my mommy’s and I don’t want it to get lost or broken at school. Besides you’re a boy and that really doesn’t look like a boy ring.

A-fig: You have a mommy?

Me: *sigh, yes Mommy has a mommy but she lives in Heaven.

A-fig: So, I have another Grandma and she lives in Heaven?

Me: Yes, you definitely have another Grandma and she lives in Heaven.

A-fig: Why is she in Heaven?

Me: She was very sick and then she died so she went to Heaven to be with God.

A-fig: So how soon will God heal her so she can come back?

Me: *deep breath Well, my mommy is healed in heaven but she couldn’t be healed on earth. But it’s ok. She’s much better in heaven.

A-fig: Why didn’t God heal her here?

Me: …*faltering Baby, I don’t know why God didn’t heal her here.  God knows what He’s doing so it’s ok. I miss my mommy very much and I wish you could have one of her hugs but she’s watching over you from heaven.

A-fig: Mommy, one day I’m going to go to heaven because I love Jesus.

Me:  *trying to stay in control Yes, baby I know you love you Jesus and I know you want to obey Him.

A-fig: Yeah, but you know what? When I get to heaven I’m going to be able to see your Mommy and give her a hug since she’s all better in heaven.


The morning didn’t allow for a complete meltdown. I didn’t have time for an ugly cry. I had to keep moving. I had people I needed to take care of. But it’s all right here just below the surface. When you’ve lost someone very close to you that feeling never leaves you but its definitely manageable. Most of the time it’s just a fact of life, it’s just reality. You just pretend it’s not a major part of your identity.

But somedays the loss feels very fresh and new again. Like it hasn’t been almost 25 years since you’ve heard your mom’s voice say “Tough Toenails,”  or felt her cool hands gently rub your back, or sat next her while she drank her tea and read book after book as you soaked in her Chanel No 5.

But I say all this not to bring you down and definitely not to make you feel sorry for me. I’d have to hurt you if you felt sorry for me. But I guess to remind you to make the most of every day. To remind you of what you already know, makes the calls, send the cards, create the relationships that matter.

But also to remind those of us who have experienced deep loss to not keep it hidden. Bring out the photo albums and have the ugly cries. Scream up to the heavens and shake your hands at God and yell Why!!!! until your throat is hoarse even if it’s been 25 years. Relish those sweet sounds and smells of times gone by. Giggle to yourself those memories that only you and that person share.

And then rest. Eat some warm banana bread or a chocolate lava cake. Toast a glass of wine. Feel God’s peace and providence. Refresh your mind again that He loves you, He will never leave you, this place is not our finally resting ground.

Can you share a sweet memory of someone you love that is gone now?

5 thoughts on “No time for ugly cries

  1. I shouldn’t have read this at work…I have to collect myself and teach my next class! My mom passed away four years ago last Wednesday, and I’ve been missing her a lot, especially with every milestone that Brendan reaches. I always assumed part of my life as a parent would be handing my baby to my mother for her approval, and it’s been difficult to accept that I won’t be doing that. I have to remind myself that my mother and my son were very well acquainted in heaven before he came down to me, and that when he smiles as he’s falling asleep he’s remembering her voice talking to him.

  2. I don’t have any memories of our daughter Camille, since we lost her in stillbirth. We had to say goodbye before we ever got to say hello. But I resonate with your suppressed emotions– simmering undercover. Now and ten he girls will talk about her. A lost loved one is like a scar–it makes us stronger but it can fester from time to time.

  3. My baby girl, Ellie, was a smiler at day 1. She was sweet, and kind and thoughtful. Yes, it may seem unbelievable I am ascribing attributes to a baby and just how can I know all these things about her, but she was, and is and I would give anything to hold my sweet dear little girl (instead of God?…I always ask myself). Peace to you, Carissa. I know it hurts.

    1. Kate, just like with Michele, I don’t understand these situations with children. These are the things that break my heart, test my love of God, and have me cry out, “Increase my faith, Lord.” I don’t find it unbelievable at all that those are Ellie’s attributes even as a child, even in your womb with her sisters, because those are the same attributes I see in you. I pray your heart is strengthened until you can see your little girl again face to face.

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