50 Years


I woke up this morning to my brother’s Facebook update.

Psalm 62:8 (AV): Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us.      My father read this to our family 50 years ago after the totally unexpected death of my mother, Nellie. Perhaps the most important event in our family’s history.
I still miss her.

In January, Dan and I talked about 2018 being the fiftieth year.  FIFTY. years.

Somewhere (WHY didn’t I copy it down?) recently I read about a man in his nineties who still mourned his mother’s death who died when he was a young boy. I spoke aloud, “I get that.”

No one has ever told me “Get over it”  but no doubt some have thought it. Oh, my friends. Bereavement has no expiration date.

Grief is a daily companion. A few calendar days make it acceptable to press the un-mute button, to give voice to the grief.

My friend Curtis said yesterday, “I was raised in the soil of sorrow.”

Some want an easy cure, a quick fix; some hate feeling uncomfortable; witnessing affliction is awkward. So they rush the mourning process and roll their eyes to silence the sobs.  They avoid minor keys. They cover pain with inane words.

It’s a delicate dance.
Acknowledging the lament without permanently lodging in it.
Expressing my hope without repressing my grief.
Growing in gratitude while voicing my groans.


Ecclesiastes grows more precious (well, more understandable) to me every year.
A season for everything. A time to mourn.
A time to be born, a time to die.

So this is today’s 50th anniversary plan.  I will honor Nellie Harper’s memory by imitating her. I will plant my garden and make a meal to take to some friends who just moved.

I often listen to audio books or podcasts while I do chores. While they enrich me, I can use them as a narcotic. Today I will listen to the neighborhood collared doves, rustling leaves, and barking dogs. I will soak up memories of mom. I will hum her favorite hymn, Great Is Thy Faithfulness, while I push seeds into the ground.

I will have a one-sided conversation with her, describing her ‘grands’ and her ‘greats’. I will say how I finally like coffee after all these years. I will review new and old mercies. I will remember her smile, her chuckle, her sighs. I will wonder if she ever ever guessed how much she impacted her world.

I will pray. I will sing. I will plant. I will weep.


10 thoughts on “50 Years

  1. Oh Carol. So beautiful. How true the words of your mom’s favorite hymn have proven. Look at her daughter! Her grandchildren! Oh my. You know my theme song: these loved ones are worth the tears. But we don’t refuse to be comforted in the tears. God bless this precious day!

  2. May you feel the comfort of the Prince of Peace in a very real way, today and everyday. It’s just so sad, there’s no way around it. Sending love and prayers.

  3. Carol,
    Your words are poignant and spot on. As a culture, we are so uncomfortable with grief. As a Christian people we want to hurry to the happy ending…but we have to live in this valley of death. I work in a Hospice organization now and have learned so much about grief. The Chaplains and bereavement experts here say, “Let grief do it’s work.” In other words, don’t shut down the anger, the nonsensical words…the process.

    Can I share your post with my coworkers?


  4. So true, there is no time limit on grief. My husband and I were blessed to be with both his mother and mine when they left this earthly life and it was not a fearful time…more of a peaceful affirmation of their lives. Still we miss them and talk about them and remember good times with smiles. I missed being here yesterday, but I understand and appreciate your words more than I can say. God bless and be with you. love and prayers, jep

  5. Although I was a young adult when my dad died, it’s now been almost 37 years and I miss him so much. Last Father’s Day was exceptionally hard, and I felt it shouldn’t be and then I decided it was okay to mourn him, even yet. Others may not understand, but God does, and a few dear ones know the pain, also. Thanks for your words and remembrance of your mother. Blessings . . .

    • Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Vickie. It’s odd, isn’t it, how some years are easier/harder than others? And I never quite know what will trigger the grief. Blessings to you!

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