I just returned from dropping off my baby boy at the New Mexico Military Institute. Heavy sigh.
Our family was blessed as the United States Merchant Marine Academy sent Kiani as a sponsored “prep,” to NMMI. He’ll attend 2 semesters to prepare him for the rigorous military life at a Service Academy.
Kiani is my youngest child and he was sooooo ready to take his education to the next level. Our family has already experienced sending our oldest off to school. My daughter Ilyssa is a Master’s College graduate, has a full time job and lives at home with us and my middle child, Jordan. Jordan is entering his junior year as a Music major at Cal State Bakersfield. I realize I have 2 out of 3 of my children still with me. So why am I sad? I know I still get to be a “mom” to a daughter and son. I know, I know, I know!
Not gonna lie…. I miss my son, my heart sill hurts and is swollen with bittersweet sadness as Kiani starts the next chapter in his life.
Anyone who knows me well can say it doesn’t take much to make me happy. I don’t require a lot of attention, I coach softball, love to watch sports, love ministry, and I consider myself a low-maintenance type of gal. I also have the privilege of serving the families of my church, celebrating and supporting them in their good times and in their bad.
So as I begin to navigate the feeling of loss that’s welling up inside of me, I thought it would be easier than this. Grief is felt when a loved ones dies, but it also manifests itself when there’s separation or major change. We grieve what “used to be,” a type of loss.
My heart is swollen as my mind replays the videos of Kiani turning on ESPN, opening and closing our blinds, parking his car, playing basketball and turning off all the lights before going to bed. In all honesty, I’m disappointed in myself as thought I’ve had over a year to prepare myself for his departure . I also disappointed myself in January 2013 when my daddy passed away. I was blessed to lead him to the Lord in 1993, so I know I’ll see him again and thought with all that knowledge, his passing is something I’d handle well. But I found myself weeping more than I thought I would and the profound void I felt was horribly overwhelming. Triggers like white Cadillacs, Costco and NCIS still bring tears to my eyes. I’m surprised by my reaction as I come from a line of very strong women, I’m a child of divorce and my mom and dad were married 4 times…each. Survival mode comes easy for me as a coping mechanism.
The Sunday before his funeral, I remember waking up and looking at the clock. It was 8:00 am and I remember saying to myself, “Oh good, I can catch the 9 a.m. service at the local church in my hometown.” As I tried to shower and get ready, it was like a wave of grief was simply poured over the top of my head. Bawling uncontrollably I said out loud, “I know, I know, I know, I know!” I was telling the Lord, “I know he’s in heaven, I know I’ll see him again. Why am I crying?” The next thing I knew, it was 12 noon and I had a pile of used up Kleenex next to me on the couch. To this day, I don’t know where those 4 hours went.
I concluded, it didn’t matter how much I prepared for the day when my daddy would die. It didn’t matter that I was a Kid’s Director and worked at a church. It didn’t matter I knew for a fact my daddy was in heaven. It didn’t matter that I’d already buried my mom when I was 28. It didn’t matter that I’ve consoled many families and counseled them on loss.
My body HAD to grieve. God’s design is that the loss was to be released somehow…to Him.
So at this stage of being a mom, it doesn’t matter that I’ve known over a year Kiani would go away to college. I am sad. I miss him and my body is designed to grieve, whether I act strong or not. Just like Kiani and all of our children, I remind myself they are DESIGNED TO GROW. This is what the Lord has planned. This season will pass and the days will get easier, but for now heading into my new normal without my baby boy can only be done as I surrender it all to my Jesus. It is only through the comfort of my Savior and the hope he has given us that Heaven is eternal, that enables me to endure.
Here’s how I’m letting the Lord care for my Mama Heart:
There are two things that are helping me currently cope with missing my son.
The first is a wonderful support group created on facebook recently for us moms with sons and daughters prepping at NMMI for the USMMA. There are many Empty Nest themed blogs and articles on the internet. Here are some examples:
Maybe your blessed to be friends with other parents that are experiencing the empty nest syndrome just as you are, connect with them.
The second, but most important is God’s Word.
I love what Exodus 34:29 says, “When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord.“
After spending forty days in the presence of the Lord, God’s word says Moses’ face actually glowed. According to Pastor Jon Courson, “Moses’ face reflected the glory he had experienced on the mountain.”
- Spend time in the presence of Lord
- Be still at His feet
- Take time to pray
- Spend time in the Word
When we do the above, refresh and re-energize, our gloom is replaced by a glow.
Moses spent time with the Lord and that is a simple example to me and to us all who are dealing with loss, grief, betrayal, sadness etc. I want to be found a woman whose face glows. I pray that I can light up a room when I enter it and yet not know it, like Moses.
Isaiah 40:31 “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.”