While She Lay Dying

Guest Post by Sharon Morginsky

Even though my mom’s eyes were closed most of the time as she lay dying, she knew which of her children were sitting beside her. She rubbed my hand while we sat like she had my whole life. My hand, which is beginning to wrinkle and look like hers and my grandmother's and my great-grandmother's. It was her gentle way of mothering me right up to the very end. The simple act of rubbing the baby in my own belly in this 9th month has made me think of her rubbing my hand, undoing me with grief. I pictured her rubbing her belly when she was pregnant with me and then rubbing my hands at the end. Mothering before I came into this world and mothering as she left.

A new layer of grief was exposed, one which I may not have even dealt with if I had not been pregnant. Grief can creep up on us, surprise us out of nowhere, bring us to our knees by a certain sound, a certain scent, a certain memory.

Breaking wide into that new layer of grief was something I did not want to do. I did not want to shed tears knowing my mom can’t meet this baby (this side of heaven), or play with my kids while I figure out how to juggle our growing family. I did not want to face the empty space that will be there once this sweet baby is born. I simply did not want to grieve this new layer. But grief and death don’t give us options do they? We do not get a say in who gets to be present in our most precious life events. The Lord gives and he takes away. Running from each new layer of grief just makes those areas harder to deal with.

When my heart cracked open thinking of her rubbing my hands while she was dying, I thought of Psalm 22:14 and the anguish this life can bring us.

I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint;
my heart is like wax;
it is melted within my breast;
my strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue
sticks to my jaw;
you lay me in the dust of death.

I can’t think of better descriptors of the pain and sadness death/sin/any sort of tragedycan bring us in this lifetime. My heart is like wax. Yep, thats how I feel sometimes. I love that scripture speaks to all of life and all that it can throw at us. Joy, sorrow, pain, sadness, life, peace….whatever trial we may be under, whatever joy we may experience scripture speaks to ALL of it. 

I also thought of another verse. A verse someone shared with me just hours after my mom died.

You keep track of all my sorrows. 
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book.
— Psalm 56:8

I was stunned it was an actual verse. I thought it was just a nice sentiment that people would say and I had a vague memory that Native Americans would take tiny bottles and collect their tears when someone would pass. But here the Psalmist is saying God himself is keeping track of my sorrows. God himself is collecting those tears and recording them in his book. That verse, while my heart felt like it was melting like wax, provided such comfort in a dark time. God tenderly met me in my sorrow and comforted me.

And so He does with each new layer of grief. He meets us and, if we let Him, he reminds us of truth and his comfort and that yes, the world isn’t spinning in chaos. God himself is present and will dry our tears. Lets not be afraid of facing those new layers of grief-He is always present, he’s even collecting our tears.

Sharon Morginsky is mama to 4--going on 5!--children and wife to a hunk of a church planter. They planted Grace and Peace Church (PCA) in Denver in 2016, which is a church that seeks and works for racial equality and social justice for the glory of the Kingdom. She’s a biblical counselor who specializes in grief/loss, marriage therapy, anxiety/depression, and life transitions for women. She counsels people in Denver and also remotely across the US. In her free time she loves to be in the Colorado mountains hiking, biking, and snow shoeing. She values community, adventure, and soul talks over coffee. You can contact her at Denver Counseling and Coaching.