Updated: Sep 13, 2022
As I was sitting in the Sam’s Club parking lot, 7 weeks before my mom passed away, shoving the cheese Danish in my mouth that had been the purpose of my trip, I began to sob. “Please, God, don’t make me bury my mom alone. It has been such a lonely road since Don died and now, you’re requiring me to say good bye to my mom, too? I can’t. I can’t do this again.”
My mom, had just been admitted, once again, to the hospital, and I knew in my heart, we had arrived at the final segment of her earthly journey. I had lived the past 7 years with God sustaining my every day and I knew HE would, indeed, carry me through the next season of my life - the one that wasn’t going to have my mom in it - but, somehow that wasn’t comforting to me. I didn’t want to have to rely on spiritual knowledge and faith based strength, as my heart was about to be shattered into a million pieces once again. I wanted some ONE here, with me, to physically care for me...to let me crawl into his arms on the desolate and dark nights of my grief. I wanted to experience the pain I was about to head into with...my ONE.
Shortly after that Danish day at Sam’s, I felt something arise in my spirit. It was familiar. It was close. It carried an anticipation with it, as if a delivery was about to arrive. I had never encountered such a feeling before. It was like my heart could sense “his” presence. I later arrived at the hospital and told my mom about this personal phenomenon I had just witnessed in my soul. Her response, “I’ve been praying for years for your next some ONE to appear. It‘s my very last prayer request. God knows that I don’t want to go home without this prayer being answered and I believe with all my heart that HE will answer it before I leave.“ She then took a breath, almost to bring attention to her next words as if she wanted to make sure I was listening, “You feel him near, honey, because I believe he is.” As I sat and listened to my mom’s unwavering faith in her Lord, wanting to rest in the hope that she so strongly believed in, I was somehow able to utter through my, now, tightening throat, “Mom, I truly hope you‘re right because I don’t think I can make it through having to say good bye to you alone. My heart is too broken to survive it.” She looked at me as only a mother can, grabbed my hand and lovingly whispered, “I know, honey.”
2 days later, I was back sitting in that hospital chair with the most unbelievable words coming out of my mouth... “Mom. I think I might’ve met some ONE.”
The smile that followed completely encapsulated her face.
I, then, began to read aloud the continuous text exchange that had been taking place for the past 24 hours between this mystery man that I had just met online and myself. Over the years, I had probably conversed with hundreds of men through social media and dating apps, but they all, eventually, just seemed to come up empty. And although, I had, yet, to actually meet this particular some ONE, something inside me told me that this encounter was special and I knew that it needed to be shared with my mom.
As the immediate days passed, each visit to the hospital was consumed in the unfolding story of this man who had traveled the world filming the extraordinary, who somehow had just moved backed to Michigan residing 5 miles from my home, and seemed eagerly interested to meet me... widowed by suicide with 5 kids. The texting conversations we had soon turned into our first date and my mom was, by far, more excited than me. In fact, one hour before this inaugural meeting, I received a phone call from the hospital as my mom had 2 very important things that she had to tell me.
The first, “Honey, please don’t wear tennis shoes. I had a dream last night that you showed up in tennis shoes and there was something not right. So, I think God is saying no tennis shoes. Besides, it’s not a good look on the first date.”
“Ok, mom. That’s very random and specific, at the same time. But, I promise, I won’t wear tennis shoes.”
“Ok, good. I feel much better.”
“Well, good”, I replied, somewhat puzzled.
And the second, “I just want you to know that I feel that this may be ‘him’. I have a really good feeling about this. I’ll be praying the entire time. Call me as soon as you can to let me know how it went.”
“I will, for sure.”
“Love you, honey.”
“Love you, too, mom.”
Exactly 8 hours later, as I pulled out of the parking lot where this new some ONE and I had rendezvoused, I ardently picked up the phone and commanded Siri to "call mom". Skipping the pointless ’hello’ completely, she immediately answered with a gleeful, “Well, it must‘ve turned out pretty good because you've been gone for 7 hours!”
I laughed, and replied, “It did. Very well. But, I don't know, mom, it's just all so weird and I don't really need some ONE in my life. It's all so uncomfortable and I'm not sure that I have the energy to put into some ONE else right now."
The line went silent. Then the roar came. "ANGELA GRACE you stop that! Yes, you're right, you don't need some ONE - that's the gift that came from your grief...the intimate relationship that you and God, now, have. HE is, truly, all you need. BUT, my sweet, after all this time since Don died, you also know that you want some ONE - that's the gift that came from your loneliness. Don't you dare let your fear shut the door on what your suffering has taught you."
I sheepishly answered back, "You're right. If he asks me out on a second date, I promise I'll go.... but, I'm not doing it without alcohol!"
"I don't care how you do it, just don't rob yourself of what God has been waiting to give you....”, she, then, took a deep breath which seemed to last forever and finished her statement with, “and me, too.”
And, there it was. Before I even got home from date one, my cancer stricken mom had straightened my ass out just in time for my new some ONE to ask me out for date two. The only thing left, now, was to go buy the alcohol!
A second date turned into a third, turned into a fourth, turned into every night and my mom walked by my side the entire time. She helped me process the thoughts and fears that surrounded me as I maneuvered through the land mines of having feelings for the first man since Don. She was the sounding board I needed to be able to receive the gift that God had sent not just to me, but to her, too.
4 weeks later, as I sat across from her in her living room, she looked over at me with the most serious look on her face that I‘d seen in awhile. She, then, urgently stated, "Honey, it's time for me to meet him."
"I know, mom, we've been talking about it, it's just I wanted to make sure it was on a day that you were feeling decent and didn't need to be at the hospital for anything."
She gazed straight into my eyes with a desperation in hers and replied, "I need to meet him, now , Ang."
A few days later, he picked me up with flowers in hand, and we headed to my mom's. As he walked in the door and proceeded to give my mom the beautiful bouquet, she began to weep. She grabbed onto my stepdad to steady herself and through her tears, she loudly whispered, "Give me just a minute... I wasn't expecting to be so emotional... I just want to breathe in what answered prayer looks like. I’ve waited so long for you - my prayer for my daughter.“ And as her tears turned into sobs, she softly proclaimed from the depths of her soul, “I am completely overwhelmed by God's goodness, right now."
10 days later, my mom died.
I’ve been thinking a lot about these last memories with my mom and I, too, am overwhelmed. I am in awe of God's absolute love. THE ONE gave me MY ONE because of HIS love for HIS ONE. An answer to a prayer that wholly demonstrates The Father’s love for HIS daughter because of her love for her daughter. It is a completed love. It is a love filled with mercy, kindness, and hope. It is an aggregate of healing, peace and restoration in one moment. It is a perfectly fulfilled gift for HIS children... ONE who was coming home to HIM and ONE who is staying here for HIM by providing the ONE who was an answer from HIM.
Simply perfect. Perfect love.
And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.
1 John 4:16
Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed," says the Lord, who has compassion on you. Isaiah 54:10
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!
1 John 3:1 The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.