By Brie Gowen
Do you know what made me saddest about my mother being dead?
I remember when I first introduced my mom to my boyfriend’s daughter. She hurried to a back closet, found a cherished toy she’d kept tucked away, and gave it to the blond-headed five-year-old.
“I’ve been saving that for when I have grandchildren,” she added with a grin.
I watched the contented look on her face as she sat in the floor with the young girl who would become my stepdaughter two years after my mom passed from this earth. She had looked so happy, as if a missing part of her had been found.
When I birthed my first daughter I was filled with joy, but skirting on the edges of my happiness was a melancholy sadness. It was the reminder of things I could not change, of things that I wished were different, but were not. I would look at my baby’s face and see my momma there. Then I would push that thought away.
I would watch my children walk for the first time, or say something very clever, and out of nowhere my heart would grieve that I couldn’t share these wonderful moments with my mother. She had wanted to be a grandmother more than anything, but she didn’t live long enough to glimpse a single one. Now there are eight.
People would say things they thought were comforting like, “Your momma is looking down on y’all smiling,” but I would find no comfort there. Not really. I just couldn’t believe that such a thing was so. Why would someone in Heaven have the inclination or desire to look back at a world that had caused them such pain? I never told anyone, but I just didn’t believe she could see us. Thoughts of her made me sad, and thoughts of her not enjoying the things that caused me such joy made me even sadder. The fact that my grief made me not want to think of her period was the saddest thing of all.
I recently began seeking and studying about Heaven. There was so much I didn’t understand, and there were even more preconceived notions that I held, but in all reality had no true idea. As I began to dig deeper into Heavenly research based on scriptural truth I discovered some things that have turned many of my thoughts upside down.
I now believe that my mother can see me. I read in Revelation about the martyrs seeing down on earth. I read in Hebrews about the great cloud of witnesses. And I read in Luke about Abraham and Lazarus seeing the rich man burning in hell. I read about Samuel being aware of what had happened since he died, and of Moses and Elijah knowing the same. I read different things and my heart began to believe that it’s highly plausible that my mother can see us. I’m not sure why, but that gave me a measure of peace I’ve never had before. I suppose I’ve always wanted to please her, and knowing she can see me at such a high point of my life makes me happy. It just felt right in my spirit, for the first time ever, that she knew I was doing well. That the girls were beautiful and had her wit.
Knowing what I do about Heaven from scripture I do not think she sits around all day watching our life, or pining for our arrival. I know for the first time ever she is in total peace and free from every kind of pain. I know her heart is full of joy, and I’m pretty sure she keeps contentedly occupied in Heaven. So I’m under no impression that my life is akin to The Truman Show for her, but I do think a Father like our God has shown her the twinkle of her eye, her beautiful grandchildren growing here on earth. I think she knows that we are happy, and that must just be a cherry on top of the already abundant joy she is experiencing. She’s far too full of God’s glory to be impatiently awaiting our arrival, but I’m certain she smiles a special smile at thoughts of meeting her grandchildren one day.
I realized recently that after this shift in thinking for me I am able to reminisce more on her. I am able to pull up memories of her laugh, her smile, her love for me, and not be overcome by sadness. I am able to remember her with a happy grin on my face, a comment of “I love you, momma,” and an anticipation of sharing it all again one day soon. I believe my mother can see me from Heaven, and that has somehow changed the way I grieve.