When Mother's Day is Hard

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Over the years I have come to realize holidays can be emotionally hard for people. I can remember the sadness I felt on my first Mother's Day after we had moved all across the country. I was used to spending it with Mom and I found myself overwhelmed and lonely in a new place and felt a sense of loss even though she was still alive. I had become a mom and my husband did his best to make it special, so I hid the sadness I felt. It was years later that I faced the holiday with Mom gone, leaving me and unable to hear her voice, buy her a card, or send her flowers. I was a bit more prepared as I've had friends over the years who grieved Mother's  Day because they had lost their mothers at an early age. Some of them so young they remembered having to tell their teachers they did not have a Mom and didn't need to make a card. They believed they were different and hated it. Every year when this holidays rolls around I still feel a sense of loss. But more than that my heart feels burdened because over the years I've heard many stories and God seems to remind me of them as this holiday rolls around. It is a good burden because it causes me to pray.

I pray for those whom this holiday stirs up longings for a relationship with their mom that can never be fulfilled. It doesn't matter if their mom has died, if their mom has physically left, if their mom is too dysfunctional to relate in a healthy way, or if their mom has betrayed them, the pain of longing is a pain that runs deep. They might be longing to simply to hear her familiar voice speak words or they might be longing to hear her speak words of affirmation that in reality they know probably will never be spoken because of a sinful or wounded heart. They might be longing to hear an apology for harsh words spoken in haste or a fit of anger or for loving so poorly or failing to return or protect. They might be the longing for one more bear hug or a maybe warm hug never once experienced. It might be the longing for another conversation or longing for a conversation that they know will never be had. They might be longing to hear her laugh one more time or the wondering what her laugh would have sounded like had depression not robbed her from it. They might be longing to hear her say she understands, but realizing their Mom can't hear their words and respect their thoughts. They might be longing to having a mom who could have lived brave enough to have protected them from her perpetrating husband instead of protecting the family reputation, the church they attended, or the delusion that the family was healthy and happy. They might be longing for a Mom who was mentally  ststable enough to calm fears instead of triggering them.

I pray for those ladies whose hearts feel empty on this holiday, because they can't remember a time that they didn't long for a child and they live with the realization they will never be able to conceive. Their hearts hurt every month, but they hurt even more on this day. They hurt not only for the unfulfilled longing, but because of the lack of empathy and the people who simply clamor for them to get over their grief and move on or admonish them to simply trust God more, believing their pain is a result of not trusting God more. What do they do with the longing that is written on their hearts?

I pray for the ladies who were able to conceive but lost children before they could breath their first breath. They grieve the loss of the babe they were excited to meet, but will never get to hold. They also grieve the loss of the hopes and expectations they had for their children and themselves. Many of them have suffered in silence because those around them didn't recognize their loss as a valid loss and even those that recognized the loss want them to be over it.

I pray for the moms whose memories include abortion. No matter what the reasons were, they were deceived into believing it would be easier, only to find every year they remember with shame. They find themselves wondering about the child whose life was ended. I am thankful for those who have experienced God's grace and have been able to grieve and repent. I also pray for those who haven't, always hoping they will and at last be able to grieve their child and the decision they made as they cling to the assurance of a heavenly reunion.

I pray for the moms who were fortunate enough to birth children and enjoy them for a season only to lose them way too soon. They have walked a grieving journey many of us will never have to walk. When this day rolls around their hearts are heavy though thankful as they remember past Mother's Days filled with cheer and hand made cards expressing childish sentiments so sweet. Even those with other children remember who celebrate them remember the place setting no longer set at the table.

I pray for the moms who have children incarcerated or who have run away. The shame of wondering where they went wrong is sometimes too much to bear. The worry of wondering if children are alive and safe or cold, and hungry, or in harm's way is constant, never fully going away. As they grieve the choices made by their children, they also grieve their place at the table and the dashed hopes they had for their kids.

I also pray for the moms and the children who lost their relationship through suicide. That death is a hard one to grieve because of all the unasked and unanswered questions--"Was it my fault?" "Could i have done anything to prevent it?" "Why did they want to die?" "Why did they prefer death over life?"

My purpose in sharing this post is not to guilt those who love to celebrate this holiday. It is a relationship that deserves to be recognized and to be celebrated! I just want to remind us that it is not always easy for others. I do hope we can be empathetic as we cross paths with those whose experience is not one of joy. It might mean writing a sweet note to a friend who struggles with infertility. It might mean planting a rose bush with some one who has lost either a child or their mom. It might mean having coffee with a friend and allowing her to talk openly about her loss again without admonishing her to move on. It might mean doing something creative with a friend who has suffered a loss with the intention of blessing another. It might mean having lunch with someone who is spending their first Mother's Day alone, reminding them through the ministry of presence that you have remembered them in their grief.  It might mean asking them if there is something you can do to commemorate the person they grieve. It might mean being willing to listen to a process letter written to a mother who was absent, distracted, or or unloving and the helping them figure out ways to release the pain the feel and to forgive at an even deeper level than they had before. It might mean helping someone put in place some kind of action plan to serve another or connect with someone else who, too, has suffered loss. The truth is that when Mother's Day is hard, it offers us opportunities to love those that hurt well.



1 comment:

  1. I identify so much with your wise words. This day is going to be especially hard for a family I know as it's their first Mothers Day without their precious daughter whose child they are now caring for. I'm sure it's going to be incredibly tough for both the grandmother and her 6 year old granddaughter. Thank you so much for sharing this. It means so very much to me! All my love and support!

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