When Mother's Day is Shattered by Grief

When Mother’s Day is Shattered by Grief


She can no longer utter words that make sense.

They aren’t necessary because . . .

I know them.

They are carved into my being. Over and again day after year etched with care. The things my mother said and the way she made me feel . . . I can still hear and experience them.

As a little girl, I saw joy dancing in her smile as I handed her a fist full of dandelions along with a few sprigs of queen anne’s lace. I happily plucked a bouquet of weeds from our backyard, and thought it was a magnificent gift. Just the right thing for my mama. She could have thrown them away, ignored them by laying them on the table to wilt, or scolded me for bringing the messy bunch into the house. Surely I was tracking dirt on my feet, and bringing some kind of outside mess indoors.

Instead she lovingly gave them a place of honor, in a vase on the window sill.

She spoke life into me when I was too little to notice . . .

when she made me dresses, and taught me to sew . . . as she greeted me with a smile when I came home from school. As she packed my lunches, and gave me hugs. When she showed me how to turn a dropped splotch of paint on my art work into a beautiful butterfly. While she proudly introduced me to others. When she reassured me, with a big smile, that the chief end of man is to love God and enjoy Him forever. Yes, I knew without a doubt she loved me.

She told me in a million ways.

My paralyzed mother didn’t have to say it anymore.

Halted by a massive stroke, she was instantly locked inside her own body.

Apraxia and aphasia arrested her speech and motion.

Our conversations became


She knew what she wanted to say, but only occasionally could she find the right word. The day she uttered, “Pick a waffle off the tree.” she really meant to ask me, “Would you hand me a tissue please?”

Her words were gnarled and robbed.

I longed to hear her simply say my name again. Just my name. Once. That would do me a lot of good.

Deep down good.

She knew me, but not her words.

Still, she was my dear mom. Casting joy to the nurses and skilled workers who cared for her vast needs. She even lifted the spirits of some who merely brushed by her.

Sitting next to Mom, for me, was like soaking up every single ounce of sunshine that ever existed.

Her languishing body made me desperately aware of the precious little sunlight remaining.

Dwindling time underscored the warmth and beauty of her love for me.

Sixteen months later I said my final goodbye to Mom. She gave me, and my family, life in more ways than we will likely comprehend.

The year she passed — Mother’s Day was an intrusion — It was a day stuck smack between her funeral and Monday morning burial.

Life unfolds unfairly.

I was blessed with a stable nurturing mother.

Perhaps you weren’t.

The most essential pieces for a strong start in life are not always a given.

If your mother was a good role model thank God for her.

If she wasn’t . . . be encouraged  because you can rise above her example and break generational patterns. God can heal your wounds. You can give your children reasons to celebrate you on Mother’s Day. 

To create blessings for future generations. 

It may not be easy, but definitely worth your most valiant efforts.

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