With Mother’s Day approaching, I find myself struck (yet again) with the same feelings I’ve been experiencing for several years in a row now. These feelings invoke deep gratitude within me, mixed with a touch of sorrow.
I can’t help but appreciate the beautiful women I consider the true heroes of Mother’s Day— also known as the mothers who have been forced to find the strength to continue living, even though their child’s life has ended.
Be it from miscarriage or born silently, to sickness such as cancer, war, an unforeseen accident, etc.— whatever the circumstance, there are precious women all over the world that have had to endure this heartache.
Each year, we have a Mother’s Day service in our church and honor all the mothers. And each year, I take notice of the many moms in our congregation who have faced the severe grief and pain of losing a child. These women hold their head high with a smile on their face. These women continue on in their everyday lives, operating in the strength only God can provide.
You may be one such woman. If that’s so, please know that I admire you. I admire your ability to carry on. I admire the strength you display. I cannot imagine what you have been through, and in complete honesty, for that I am grateful. All I know is that it cannot be easy. You inspire me to be the best mother I can be, to appreciate the time I have with my sweet daughters and know that every day and every moment is a blessing that is not to be taken lightly. And please know that you are in my heart and prayers.
For all you moms out there— I pray that you would take the time this Mother’s Day (and everyday) to celebrate the job God has entrusted you with and enjoy the day with your children. Embrace the gift you have been given and never, ever take it for granted.
In March my Nana was called home. She lived a glorious God filled life. I know where she is, and I know I will see her again. The following is mostly how I felt & what my emotions were.
Today I heard the doxology.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow! Praise Him all creatures here below! Praise Him above all ye heavenly hosts! Praise Father, Son & Holy Ghost!! Amen!
The doxology was one of the first “Christian” things I learned. It holds a special place in my heart. I want to praise God for everything good & bad.
Today my Nana died. For awhile I was angry at God. I didn’t get home in time to be with her, to say goodbye, to tell her I love her. It took us 22 hours to get home. I thought a lot in those 22 hours. I cried a lot in those 22 hours. I praised God a lot in those 22 hours. The phone was put on the speaker and I said my final words to Nana. I told her how much I love her, how much I would miss her. How much B,M,S & E love her & will miss her. I told her to hug Jesus for me when she got to Heaven & hug my Gren (grandfather) I told her how sorry I was I didn’t make it home. I remember just telling her how much I love her, how sorry I was & I would see her in Heaven.
The days have been long, but they have also been encouraging. I’ve enjoyed reconnecting with family & remembering Nana. It’s been difficult. I get overwhelmed & cry easily. I am selfish. I live 22 hours away from all of my family. I miss living near my family. I should have been here to help care for Nana. I should have been there when she died. I should have been there for my dad & sisters…. I should have….
Monday is Nana’s wake. Tons of people will come through offer condolences & cry, laugh & tell stories.
Tuesday is her funeral. I will cry. I will think how unfair it is. I will know she is in Heaven, with Jesus. I will rejoice & praise God knowing she is not in pain, she is with her Savior.
On Easter we didn’t go to church to celebrate the joyous resurrection of our Savior Jesus. We went to the ocean and talked about Nana. It was cold and windy. I don’t really remember exactly how cold it was, looking at the pictures I see how cold really we were. Nana has always known where she would go when she died. I believe God gave me (us) this time together to cry, live, understand each other just a little more.
As sad as I am, I also rejoice.
Flash forward a week….
Nana’s wake was beautiful. 200 people came to offer condolences and morn with us. I grew closer to my aunt & understand my Dad a little more. Watching my children mourn was very difficult. Emma was very emotional. Sophia was emotionally shut off. Melissa, my oldest daughter, took on a mom role for her younger sisters. I was taking care of my dad & aunt. I also have a son, Brian, he is 25 & he is lost.
I don’t remember a whole lot about her funeral, here are a few memories I will cherish…Before Nana’s funeral we prayed as a family. My Dad, who does not believe, led us in prayer. It was such a beautiful moment that my family shared. My Dad, my Aunt, my children, & sister stood in a circle holding hands & praying. Funny, I don’t remember the words he said, but they were Godly.
Once we got to the church and the men in our family carried Nana’s casket into the church & we walked her down the aisle, the church organist started playing “How great thou art”. My Sophia finally cried. She held onto my arm and we walked, tears freely flowing. We sat down and the priest spoke of Nana, told stories, remembered how if anyone needed prayer Nana was the one to ask, she prayed faithfully everyday. Then came time to read the prayers of the faithful. That was my job. I can hear the priest saying Lou’s oldest granddaughter, Danielle. I can see myself walking up to the pulpit. I feel myself taking that deep breath and looking at the paper I am supposed to read. I look down and I see that whoever typed the prayers out has written the wrong name on the paper & all I can think is please don’t say the wrong name!! I take a deep breath, all that comes out is my tears & my grief. I cry through the first prayer. I paused for what seemed like hours, which in fact was only maybe 30 seconds and I hear footsteps. I look up & Sophia is standing by my side holding my hand. I continue reading the prayers, crying & at that point, where Sophia is holding my hand & I am crying & reading. I no longer care that I’m sobbing while reading. I would not have been able to get through reading if Sophia hadn’t been there holding my hand. We walk back hand in hand tears in our eyes. It was a beautiful bonding moment I will cherish for the rest of my life.
My Dad walked up to the pulpit to speak about his Mom. I remember him talking about growing up and Nana always cooking. I remember him talking about Nana’s last night on this earth. Nana was partially in a coma at this point and one of my aunts or my step mom made her a drink, a highball, they put some of it on a sponge and she opened her eyes and smiled and said yum. My Dad talked of how much love nana had for everyone and then he too broke down, he came back to his seat.
After the funeral there was a meal, after the meal we went back to my Aunt’s home & talked more. There are so many more things that happened in those 2 weeks we were home. I am comforted in knowing that someday I will see my Nana again & we will be with Jesus next time.
1 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:2 a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; 3 a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; 4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; 5 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; 6 a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; 7 a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; 8 a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.
Grace & Peace to you!
1 For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven:2 a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;3 a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;4 time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;5 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;6 a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;7 a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;8 a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 NKJV
For some reason, many people (not just men) are afraid to admit that they are not experiencing any emotion other than joy. Especially Christians. Some feel that it is sinful, or makes them not as good as the next person. However, as the scripture above points out, (Turn, Turn, Turn… Ha, you know it’s stuck in your head now too…) there is a time for everything.
To mourn and grieve is very important to the healing process. Without embracing the truth, acknowledging it, dealing with it, and accepting that something happened you may not ever truly move on. Sure, you can be all happy/smiley and say “Praise the Lord!” after everything everyone says, but that doesn’t mean you’re happy. The body, heart, mind, and soul need to grieve in a healthy matter for a healthy amount of time. It should not be rushed or dragged out.
Unfortunately, really horrible bad things happen in this world: Death, natural and unnatural. Rape. Miscarriage. Child abuse. Illness. Job loss. Divorce. Infidelity. Break ups. Infertility. Muggings. Robberies. Car accidents. Etc, etc, etc… After any of these situations, it is normal to grieve and expected. It is even normal to “mildly grieve” over much smaller less upsetting situations. Anyone who’s had a bad hair cut knows what I’m talking about. (I forgive Karen & Emily for butchering my hair when I was 16, really… but that doesn’t mean I didn’t mourn it for a few days.)
Yes, as Christians we should have joy. Yes, we should see the positive and not the negative. But we are also commanded that there IS a time to mourn. That means it’s accepted. Should you not allow this process, you may miss out on a complete healing.
Just remember, it’s called GOOD GRIEF for a reason. And that prayer is NEVER a bad thing. The more the better!