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Hey friends, my name is Amanda and I’m grateful to get to share a season of my story with you today. Back in 2009 I met Ceci while going through a year long discipleship program in Southern Cali. Afterward, I moved back to Virginia, where I have stayed ever since. Flip through a few years and I now find myself married to my incredible husband, Peter, and working as a designer and office manager for a local business. I blog about my current newlywed days over at www.medium.com/amandajadecox and would love to connect with you <3
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There is a line from one my favorite movies, “Liberal Arts”, that I keep coming back to. It comes during the scene where Jesse Fisher leans over a college student’s hospital bed after his failed suicide attempt. With compassion and humility Jesse says, “Listen to me man. This right now, all of this stuff you are feeling…this is a footnote.”
It’s been five years since I’ve seen my mother’s freckled smile in front of me. I let Jesse Fisher’s words sing to me softly as I remember the chaos of the summer of 2010.
Whenever one experiences death, it always feels like a whirlwind. Whether one has weeks, months or even years to prepare for a loved one’s departure, it seldom soothes the way we’re told it would. It is nice to say a final “good-bye” but the sting is still the same as if they were ripped from you at no warning.
The summer of 2010, a doctor discovered a tumor the size of a small watermelon inside of my mother. What was supposed to be a routine hysterectomy turned into a nightmare diagnosis within a few hours. I was away at camp when it happened, but was encouraged to stay and finish my time there. I can imagine my mother had something to do with that, she always wanted me to live the best life possible. She knew how excited I was about camp that summer. So there I remained a few more weeks and then returned home.
A woman met me at the front porch when I pulled up to my childhood home on Stanberry Drive. She had a pale face with her bones outlining sunken flesh. She was my mother, but sickness had morphed her body into something fiercely sad. I hugged her. I was home.
Dead end after dead end is what medical treatments looked like. By the time they had found the cancer, it had already spread to too many places. It was unredeemable by medical standards. Yet we prayed and chose to believe that maybe, just maybe, we would experience a miracle.
Nothing can truly prepare you for your parent’s death, or any death for that matter. I don’t say this to scare you, but to let you know that whenever it comes, it doesn’t have to make sense and you don’t have to be ok with it. I spent June, July and August with my mother and then as the summer breeze left, so did she. Her southern hospitality, immense appreciation for dessert after dinner and warm mama hugs went with her. Nothing felt secure or in control for a long time after her death. Our family grew apart and peace seemed hard to find. But that changed, even if ever so slowly, over time.
It hurts less today than it did five years ago. Sometimes her memory cripples me and I have to let silent tears sing me to sleep. Sometimes a hug from my amazing mother in law reminds me that I can’t hug my first mother on this side of heaven again. Sometimes I sing loud and off-key to a country song in a tribute to my mother and just laugh at myself. Sometimes I am sad, but most times I am happy at the thought of her.
Even though I will never get to place my future curly haired children into her arms for her to kiss and snuggle, I know her legacy lives on. And it is a strong one.
If there is anything I really want to get across to you today friend, whether you have experienced death or not, is this: It will not always feel this way and there is hope.
The truth is, we’ve all experienced levels of loss in our lives. It may not be death, but it still stings. So from Jesse Fisher to Amanda Cox to you staring at this screen, I hope you can carry this with you and let it bring you hope for all the dark days you have had, and for when they come again, unexpected as they do:
“All of this stuff you are feeling…this is a footnote.”