My mother told me growing up that one of the biggest downfalls of getting older is that you will have to say goodbye to friends and loved ones along the way. In the last few months though, an inordinate number of friends have lost their mom or dad and sometimes, both.
We can offer our condolences, prayers and anything else to help them ease the pain from what they are going through with their loss but sometimes it feels as if it is not enough.
When my mother passed away, at her service, we had so many people show up and do just that and we were extremely grateful for everyone that came by but what I am about to write, I have never told one before.
Why? Because it was so profound and brought me amazing comfort, I am not sure I could ever do the story justice that it deserves. After the recent passing, just a few days ago of a dear friend’s mom, who went through the same struggle my mom did, something told me now was the time to tell it.
My mom fought Alzheimer’s and COPD valiantly until the end. COPD took her life, but Alzheimer’s took her from us. By the time her battle ended, she was a shell of the amazing, powerful woman that I called mom.
Here is the story:
Jamey Tucker is one of the finest men you will ever encounter in your life, a good guy, but a better dad and husband. As people were coming by and talking to me at my mom’s funeral, he waited patiently for his time. And then approached me.
“Joe, from talking to you, I know your mom believed in Jesus and heaven.”
“Yes. Yes she did, very much so. That was the foundation of her life.”
“Let me tell you this. If she could come back, she wouldn’t.”
Excuse me, but what? I processed that sentence in a second and I got mad. Really mad. How dare he tell me that my mom would not come back and be with us immediately? How dare him!
I had never seen anyone get punched at a funeral service and as the anger rose in my body to do just that, Jamey said it again.
“If she could come back, she wouldn’t.”
If she could come back, she wouldn’t. It echoed in my head, over and over and over. My clenched fist in my selfish anger, suddenly opened up and I hugged Jamey probably tighter than anyone in my life, except for Geraldo and that is another story in itself.
It all made sense in a beautiful way.
He then said, “Think of what she is seeing now. And no more pain. Do you really want her to come back as she left you? I love you, if you need me, come find me.” And he walked off.
In a matter of 15 seconds, I went from sadness, to anger, to amazing joy over these words, “If she could come back, she wouldn’t.”
I cannot tell you how many nights I have set up, with tears of joy thinking of how happy she is. I know I will see her again and for that I am sure because that is a promise He made to us and those promises always come true.
If she could come back, she wouldn’t. No more pain. No more of the pure hell we saw her go through as she fought bravely and valiantly.
So to my dear friends who are dealing with a tremendous loss of a parent, sibling or child, I pray this one 15 second encounter can offer you some solace and comfort, the exact same way it has offered me since I closed my mom’s eyes, kissed her head and told her goodbye.
Thank you, Jamey Tucker, I am forever grateful for your words.