Saturday, May 09, 2015

When Mother's Day is NOT happy....

First of all, let me say - Happy Mother's Day!  Yes, for the majority of the world, celebrating one's Mother is a beautiful and happy occasion!  There are flowers & cards sent, facebook tributes, lunch dates and dinner plans that just might end with a sweet treat, and it is ALL lovely!

There are those however, that find themselves in conflict on this day because it conjurs up all sorts of mixed emotions.  There are those who do not have a positive relationship with their mothers, those who have just lost their own mother's, those that have lost the chance to be a mother, those that long to be a mother, and those who (like me) are grieving mothers.  

I remember the first Mother's Day that wasn't all flowers and rainbows for me.  It was my first mother's day with Grace.  It was a lovely Sunday morning, and the little shakes I had seen randomly the week before, were no longer random.  The voice in my head that was trying so desperately to convince the mother's intuition within me was starting to gain ground.  I could no longer ignore the twitches.  Gracie was having seizures.  I did not go to church with my two older babes and hubby, instead I spent the morning and afternoon in an over-crowded ER room, counting each and every little twitch.  I watched Grace's sweet, soft, lilly white hands tighten and then ever so gentlty shake, then stop.  It was there in that ER that I knew my Mother's Day would never be the same.

Perhaps others of you  have had similar moments. For you, maybe it was the first time Mother's Day came around and and your own Mom was no longer there to celebrate, on this side of heaven anyways.   Or perhaps the bleak moment of your first un-Mother's Day was sitting in a maternity hospital bed, empty handed and broken hearted.  Perhaps, for you, it's yet another reminder that you have not yet conceived and the niggling feeling that maybe there's a problem forms that all too familiar lump in your throat.  Or maybe you are mourning the loss of a relationship, and what once was a beautiful day of remembrance and celebration is now fractured and you are left trying to figure out how it will sift out?  

No matter the source of the pain, this day will always be bittersweet for some of us.

So what do you say to your friend whose miscarried her precious babe?  How do you broach the subject with a friend who you know has been trying to get pregnant, but can't?  How do you comfort a friend who is feeling orphaned as an adult becuase their mom has died?  What do you say to a mother of a terminally ill child, who wonders how many more Mother's Days does she have left with her precious child?  How do you cheer up your single friend who so longs to find the 'one' and become a mother herself?

If I could give any words of advice from my own experience of what I needed to hear in my own grieving moments it would be the following....

"I can't begin to imagine the pain you are in, nor would I ever want to add to that pain.  Just know that I am here for you when and if you need to me.  If you need a distraction and just want to escape the pain for awhile - then I'm here for you.  If you need to hash it out and cry and vent, then I am here for you too.  You are not alone.  I am here to journey with you, following your lead and in your time.  And even if you feel alone in your are not alone."

That's all we can offer.  I wish I could offer you a special healing balm that takes away the pain, but there is not one to be found.  Grief is hard work. The greatest gift you can give is your PRESENCE.  I know some of you might be tempted to say things like "I'm praying for you" or "she's in a better place" or "time will heal." Although those statements are beautiful, they aren't enough.  Words are wonderful, but they are not enough, being the hands and feet of Jesus to this broken world around us IS the next step after the beautiful sentiment of words and prayers. Please don't misunderstand me.  I believe in the power of prayer and believe that peace and comfort is found in Christ, for I have experienced that love and peace first hand!  What I AM saying is that, we also have the amazing privilege to be the tangible love of Christ to this broken world.

So if  you know of someone who might be somewhere on this bittersweet spectrum this weekend, offer them the gift of your presence. 

Proverbs 17:17A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.