A day that I never thought I’d encounter is the day I stopped praying for my mother to live.
The moment I knew her time was limited and instead of praying fiercely for her to hold on, I started praying instead for her to let go. It suddenly felt selfish to sit and beg and pray for her to remain with us when the only pieces of her that truly remained were disease-filled and painful.
I never knew true courage or selflessness until the first prayer that I silently screamed in desperation for her to be set free. It was the day I stopped praying for her to live.
“Mom, you can go if you have to.”
I remember posting a picture of our interlocked hands, numb and broken, asking my closest friends for guidance. I wanted to know when it’s the right time and ‘ok’ to let go. I wanted someone to tell me what the best things to do and feel were. I wanted to know if it was too late for a miracle. I wanted answers and instead it became the day I stopped praying for her to live.
“Take her if you must, but erase her pain and ease her mind, remind her she will be forever loved, always.”
When she could no longer speak or move or open her eyes my world changed just as dramatically as the composition of my heart. When she laid there, immobile, peaceful and immensely loved, yet forever changed, that’s the day I stopped praying for her to live.
“If she’s ready, she’s yours. I’m not ready, but I’ll never be. When you carry her away, carry her with love, our love, our endless and limitless love.”
I shocked myself as I challenged every selfish wish and hope that filled my soul. I cried and screamed and begged God, and all and any divine intervention, to take her and make her whole again, even if that meant somewhere different, somewhere out of my reach. It was the heartbreaking moment I stopped praying for her to live, and instead prayed for her heavenly redemption.
“You can go, and wherever it leads I will love you, to the moon and back, forever.”
Even as the words slipped out of my mouth in tear-clouded whispers I couldn’t believe them. I hated myself for saying them. I was overwhelmed with guilt, yet encouraged by the faith that radiated from my mother’s thin, yet still beautiful face.
She deserved freedom. She deserved peace and serenity. She deserved everlasting life, which meant it was time to stop praying for her to live here on this Earth with us. A prayer that still remains the most critical and self-sacrificing that I’ve ever whispered or crafted in my heart. The harshest and most powerful prayer to ever exit my lips.
Everything changed the day I stopped praying for her to live.
Every. Single. Thing.
The day I stopped praying for her to live I broke into a million tiny pieces while she flew away free, which is what makes it all worthwhile. I’ll hurt forever if it means she’s no longer in pain and no longer tied to the things that depleted her. That harsh prayer was my last gift to her. My last opportunity to love her, just as delicately and pure as she loved me.
The greatest act of love I’ve ever accomplished was the day I stopped praying for her to live.
A thirty-something wife, mother and educator who has Indiana roots and a passionate spirit. Chelsea is a sappy romantic, coffee junkie, book collector, and person who wears her heart on her sleeve. She’s sarcastic, full of jokes, full of tears, and enjoys writing most when life gets messy or complicated. In 2017, Chelsea's mother passed away. Through her grief journey, she decided to take her mother’s advice and share her writing with the world. One day she gained the courage to honor her mother's wishes and write. It turned out to be one of the best decisions she's ever made.