Mother’s Day is a complicated thing.
My two sons, without a doubt, are the best part of me and quite possibly the only goodness I have contributed to this world. I rejoice in being their mother! That being said, I’m not always tickled pink on Mother’s Day. For me, and for others like me whose moms have passed, Mother’s Day comes with a twinge of sadness. Emotions tug at my heartstrings, some years more than others. This year, that tug is rather profound, perhaps because I’m at the point in my life where I look in the mirror and see my mother’s face staring back at me, or more likely, because this year I witnessed a young mother lose her baby before she even had a chance to hold him.
My relationship with my mother was wonderful, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have regrets. I regret not spending enough time with my mom, not bringing her flowers more often, not asking her more questions about her life before she had children. I have photographs of my mother as a little girl, but I don’t know where the pictures were taken or on what occasion, nor do I know what my mother was thinking at each particular time. As a kid, it never occurred to me to ask. I regret not asking. Had I done so, I’d know more about my mother, and the more I know, the more of my mother I can keep with me now that she is gone.
Mother’s Day is emotional for children of any age who have lost their mothers, but it’s far, far more difficult for mothers who have lost their children. I will not compound that sorrow here; I can’t speak of what I have not experienced firsthand. But I will tell you this: there’s a young woman in my family who recently lost her child in-utero. Her love for her son is no less than my love for my sons. This Mother’s Day, I think of her. I acknowledge her strength and her grace, and with a humble heart, I ask you to remember her, and all mothers who have lost a child, in your prayers this Mother’s Day.
The well-intentioned often tell the grieving that grief subsides and “time heals all wounds.” That’s not entirely true. The force of daily living glosses over the wounds of loss; acceptance makes the wounds less raw, but the loss is always there. Grief is a wave that comes in and goes out again. Some days, you float along with it; you ride the wave, and you return to shore in one piece stronger for your efforts. Other days, you struggle to keep your head above water. Thoughts of what was, what is, and what should have been pull you down. But you’ll get up again. You might not know exactly where you are, but you’ll stand up again.
Much of who I am comes from my mother. I don’t have to look in the mirror and see her face to know she’s with me. I need only look in my heart. My mother is in my heart; I am in hers. Our family’s “angel baby” is in his mother’s heart; she is in his. And that is a forever bond that only a mother can truly understand. Perhaps Mother’s Day is not quite so complicated after all.
If you are grieving a loss this Mother’s Day, may the sanctity of the forever bond of motherhood sustain and comfort you. God bless you all this Mother’s Day.