We're approaching the one year mark of my husband's precious mama's passing. she was truly a remarkable person with kind, blue eyes + the most gentle spirit. 

it has been the hardest year + experience I've ever been through. loss is the strangest thing... so final. and it happens whether you're ready for it or not. months after she was gone, I would be going about my day, doing my normal routine and it would hit me—oh yeah, she's gone. nighttime was the worst. every night before bed I would be reminded of something about her and tears would immediately follow.

Eight months after her passing, Drew came home from work and he was visibly upset. he told me, "something happened at work and I thought mom would think it was funny, so I tried to call her. I couldn't find her in my contacts and I didn't know why and then I remembered." as soon as he told me, my eyes welled up with tears and I just sat there in silence weeping. eight months later and it's still. so. fresh.

along with the hurt, there is bitterness. this is not something I'm proud of, but I assume it is a natural part of the process. when others complain about their mothers in-law, I think, at least you have one. [disclaimer: I do have another mother in-law, and for that, I am so grateful] once, I was meeting my sister for lunch with one of my friends. I can't remember what the scuffle was about, but my sister had done something that I did not like. "ugh I can't stand her," I confessed to my friend afterward. my friend, who had lost her only sister years earlier, replied, "at least you have a sister. be thankful for that." talk about feeling convicted. I'll never forget this lesson, and I now know that feeling so strongly. when I hear of others being diagnosed with, battling, or dying of cancer, I become enraged. it is so infuriating. in the same way, when I hear of others being healed, I become envious and question it. why them? why do they get to be healed? why didn't she? it's not that I don't want others to be healed, but I wanted that for her, too.

and there's anger. she should be here. she should get to see her little girl growing up. she should get to see her oldest daughter walk down the aisle someday. she should get to meet + hold her grand-babies. she should get to take care of her parents and husband. she should get to visit with her sister on the phone and exchange stories about their children. all these things we still need her here for—and she's not.

but somewhere, beneath the sadness, hurt, bitterness, and anger... there's hope. there's joy. there's thanksgiving. there's relief.

there's hope that we will see her again someday. there's joy that I got to love + be loved by her. there's thanksgiving. I am so grateful that I ever had the privilege of meeting her and becoming a part of her family. there's relief that she left us before her illness was too much... too much for her to even recognize us. more than that, there's relief that she is now whole.

Things will never be the same without her. there will always be an ache in our hearts for her presence, but her spirit + memory live on forever. and one day, I'll get to tell my children about the amazing woman that was their grandmother. I can't wait for that.

"yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord."
2 Corinthians 5:8

"You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book."
Psalm 56:8

photography by Allison Daniell of Stellar Propeller Studio + Houston Bass of Honest Photography