I didn't scream or yell while waiting for the sun to rise, that would come later. Instead there was a feeling of overwhelming submission. I worshiped Him in the silent room. I sang hymns and whispered prayers as I paced the floors with hands reaching up to Him. I confessed His greatness and majesty. I read the Canticle of Mary (the Magnificat) and the Canticle of Zechariah (the Benedictus) from Luke, over and over.
Tears just wouldn't come. It was a relief to be able to cry later in the morning when the pastor and his wife and two lovely ladies from church came to visit and pray for us. I cried when friends from our church small group all came together to the house and sat with me. It's so comforting when friends are willing to just sit with you.
The night before we left for Oklahoma City, a friend had taken the kids so I could pack. David wasn't home yet from work, and I was alone. It was then that I screamed, not having to worry about scaring the kids or concerning anyone else. I let my grief all hang out. I soundly lamented my mother's death. Then a light penetrated my heart, and all I felt was love and peace. I got up and continued packing.
It bothered me that tears came so infrequently after that, and it bothered others.
The night before the funeral, after everyone had left the visitation, David and I lingered behind in the funeral home. Friends had taken the kids back to the hotel so we could have the time alone. We stood by Mom who looked like she was peacefully napping in her pretty peach dress. I bent over, gently kissed her head, and whispered good-bye. Then grief poured out in mournful sobs as David held me. It was a gift to be alone with him at my mother's side, and it became easier to shed tears after that.
Having the Canticles laid on my heart the night Mom died set my perspective throughout my grieving. It's not that I wasn't in shock (I was), or never got angry (I did), never stumbled or sinned (yep, did that too), but His promises, in fact His very Self, were an anchor, always keeping me from going too far and constantly bringing me back to Him.
Here are those lovely songs of Mary and Zechariah as found in the New International Version, the translation I read as I waited for the dawn:
The Canticle of Mary (Luke 1:46-55)
My soul glorifies the Lord
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for He has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
for the Mighty One has done great things for me--
holy is His name.
His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
He has performed mighty deeds with His arm;
He has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
He has helped His servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
to Abraham and his descendants forever,
even as he said to our fathers.
The Canticle of Zechariah (Luke 1:68-79)
Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,
because He has come and has redeemed His people.
He has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David
(as He said through His holy prophets of long ago),
salvation from our enemies
and from the hand of all who hate us--
to show mercy to our fathers
and to remember His holy covenant,
the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
to rescue us from the hand of our enemies,
and to enable us to serve Him without fear
in holiness and righteousness before Him all our days.
And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High;
for you will go on before the Lord to prepare a way for Him,
to give His people the knowledge of salvation
through the forgiveness of their sins,
because the tender mercy of our God,
by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven
to shine on those living in darkness
and in the shadow of death,to guide our feet into the path of peace.
© 2009-2015 Emily Woodham