"Get up, Peggy Ann!"
“Get up Peggy Ann!”
My mom would say this out loud, often, when she felt she had been sitting in her chair (reading, of course) for too long. It always made me laugh that she would talk to herself like that. And she would obey! She’d stop reading, get up, and start making dinner or doing whatever thing around the house she’d been taking a break from.
It’s actually a common thing in the Psalms for the psalmist to talk to himself. I like it especially when he talks to his soul. Often the author will cry out to God about his suffering and pain (I LOVE the honesty- God can handle our complaints about ourselves and about Him!) The author admits he’s in despair. “My tears have been my food day and night...My soul is downcast within me.” And then he talks to his soul. It’s like, “Get up Peggy Ann (or David or whomever wrote this Psalm).”
“Why so downcast oh my soul? Put your hope in God...My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you.”
So, I told myself, “Get up Anna Kate” (Mom called me by my full name when I was in trouble). And now I am up, out of bed at 4:00am because I couldn’t go back to sleep. Today would be Mom’s birthday. She probably wouldn’t want me to tell you her age, so I won’t.
I guess knowing it’s Mom’s birthday today is partly why I can’t sleep. A day we normally would celebrate her; buying her Coke memorabilia and lady heads. Instead, today we will go together as a family to brunch and then to the graveside. Maybe I’ll put a coke on her site. A lady’s head might be too creepy.
Grief is so strange. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said this sentence in the past 2 months. It doesn’t follow logical patterns or come at convenient times. Today, it makes sense that I will be missing my mom. It’s a natural day to think about her and feel her loss.
But, my saddest days have been out of the blue. They’ve been seemingly unrelated to thoughts about Mom. Grief is a long, drawn-out process, full of ups and downs, and this process generally takes longer than is recognized by society. I read the following words in some paperwork the hospital gave my dad. I found them really interesting and helpful:
“Your grieving may go on longer than you want it to. You may tire of feeling always tired. You may grow weary of your weariness. You may feel weakened by the continuing pain. Your task, however, is to remain in your pain long enough-not a day longer than you need to, but not a day less than your loss demands. For however uncomfortable this time is for you, it is serving a purpose. It is helping you heal. And all wounds heal the same way- from the inside out.”
So, today, on Mom’s birthday, I say to my soul, “Get up. If you want too. Keep crying. If you need to. Be honest about your downcast feelings. And then remember God. Remember the Hope you have. Remember the Hope Mom has! Put your Hope in God.”
Happy birthday Peggy Ann