41 years ago today I was placed in the arms of my adoptive mom by my birth mom. It was equal parts love and loss. My mom told me she looked across the room at my birth mom and felt the pain at the same time she was feeling the joy. I had a very similar experience with Josh’s birth mom. Even though both birth moms had their challenges, I believe they both loved their babies and wanted the best for them. And family around them convinced them of the best path being adoption and I’m forever grateful for that choice for both of us.
As I reflect on today, a day we called family day growing up, a thought comes to mind that I realized recently. I was thinking about my mom, and how she passed on to heaven three years ago. At first I felt like the word “orphan” defined this period of my life. With both my parents no longer with me, that is how it felt. However, recently I realized that just because my daughter has passed on does not make me any less of her mother. The same is with my mom. I am no less a daughter to her just because she is in heaven because her memory lives on in me. I also realized that I can still love her and still be in a relationship with her even though she’s not here. Now don’t loose me here. I’m not talking about anything weird, I just mean love doesn’t end just because you aren’t with a person anymore. Think about it this way. Let’s say a loved one or friend goes on an extended trip. Do you stop loving them or being their friend just because they are gone? No. You continue that relationship even if you cannot talk with them. That relationship lives on in you. You are forever connected. And when you see that person again it’s just as if they never left, in most cases. It might even be that the relationship is stronger because of having been apart and both people realizing how much they really missed one another and mean to each other. Hurts might have been forgiven and love may have grown. So it is with those in heaven.
Maybe your loved one or friend passed away and you never got to say things you wanted to say to them. Maybe you weren’t on the best terms. Maybe you had unresolved things. I have found, after experiencing many losses, that you will inevitably have unresolved things with people who pass away particularly those you were close to. It’s just how it is with human relationships. There are things left unsaid or undone. After my mom passed I realized I had some things I wanted to say but never got the chance. So, I went to her grave and I talked. I realized that she probably couldn’t hear me but I needed to say them for myself. I have done the same with my daughter and my dad. Relationships are complicated and none are perfect and if you live with regret of unsaid things I would encourage you to write your loved one a letter or go to their grave and talk to them. It really helps.
I thought that was it. I thought the relationship had to be exactly where we left it when they passed until I saw them again in heaven, but it’s not true. It’s not true because I can change. I can evolve my feelings and grow in my relationship with them as I wait to see them again, just like I would if there were just gone on a trip.
Love lives on in me for them, and love lives on in heaven with them. They are still my mom, dad, and daughter even though they are in heaven. Now don’t freak out on me about theology, I realize some people believe we won’t have relationship like mom/daughter in heaven. I won’t argue that with you if that’s what you believe because frankly I don’t know enough to really argue the point. I have not been to seminary, but I happen to believe that we will know each other and be connected in relationship as we were here in some way. So, when I get to heaven I will see my mom and we will know and love each other and continue our relationship there for eternity, but it’ll be better because there is no sin, so there is no pain or tears. No arguing or hurt feelings. Just love. Perfect love. I think that is how they see me now. Mom doesn’t see unsaid words or hurt feelings, she only sees love. So when she sees me she will see love, and all the regrets I may have will be forgotten. So, I should live as though they are forgotten here. Living with regret is only hurtful to me because all is forgiven in heaven.
I don’t know if that makes sense. To me it was a huge revelation. I have many regrets with my daughter in particular. We have a very difficult relationship because of her past and mine. We never got to that loving mom/daughter bond I wanted and of course I have regrets. Was there anything else we could have done? But you know what? It doesn’t matter anymore. She is made whole and has no pain or regret. She sees me only through love. When we meet again all will be resurrected and there will be only perfect love. I don’t have to live with regret here because I can move forward knowing all is made new and I can continue to have that relationship with her now, while I’m here, looking forward to the day when we will meet again. I hope this helps others. I know there are others out there holding hurt and regret from loved ones who have passed on. Let it go. In heaven there is only love.