Today is my thirty-fourth Mother’s Day without my mom. She was forty when she passed away; I was eight.
When you lose your mom at such a young age, you spend the rest of your life wondering. What would she be like now? What would she look like? How would she talk? Act? What kind of advice would she give? How would we get along? How would we share special moments like my wedding day and the births of my sons?
For most of those thirty-four years, I dreaded Mother’s Day and as it approached I experienced a dark cloud of sadness and a looming loneliness. Gratefully, though since the birth of my first child, Mother’s Day has become a happier time for me because I have been blessed enough to experience God’s greatest gift: being a Mom myself. Yet and still, for many years the ever-present unanswered questions remained.
Some of my questions were answered last year when my very dear and special friend Barbra bravely faced her mortality in the form of a terminal breast cancer diagnosis. In our countless heart to heart conversations about her battle, and the inevitable, the central theme was always her precious eleven year old daughter. Barbra was as strong as steel in every aspect of her cancer battle, but when it came to her daughter, that’s where all of her worry, angst, sadness and pain lay. Over and over Barbra expressed her deep desire for her daughter to be ok…and not just ok, but she wanted her daughter to thrive and be happy. To be strong and self-sufficient; she wanted her daughter to know how to do her own hair; make herself a meal and have a professional makeup lesson for her sixteenth birthday!
Listening to Barbra was heart-wrenching, but the more I listened to Barbra, the more I realized that the way Barbra felt must have been EXACTLY the way my own mom had felt. Barbra’s concerns were my mother’s concerns.
As Barbra talked, I heard my mother telling me that she would’ve have given anything to still be here with me, my dad and my brother, but since she couldn’t, she just wanted us all to be ok. She wanted me to be happy and to live a great life and do my very best.
Barbra didn’t realize it, but she was giving me a parting gift, and I soon realized that I was able to help her by sharing my insight about growing up as a girl without a mom. We were able bless each other.
Barbra’s insights have given me new peace for Mother’s Day. And in talking to her daughter leading up to her first Mother’s Day without her mom, I assured her that Barb is in heaven smiling down on her, and is soooo proud of her and the beautiful young lady she is becoming. I have been able to tell Barb’s daughter that her mother still loves her more than anything else in the world, and always will.
And each time I encourage and comfort Barbra’s daughter, I am reminded of my mother who still wants the very best for me. This is what mothers do. We make everything ok. We pour every fiber of our being into our children, their welfare, happiness and productivity. We lay the foundation, instill the values, make a path and then encourage our kids down it, root them on, catch them when they fall, apply a band-aid and a kiss and then push them back out there. We dole out invaluable insight, advice and guidance as well as lectures, scoldings and finger-wags. We love unconditionally. And a mother’s love is boundless, timeless and endless. My mother’s love continues. Barb’s love for her daughter continues. All mothers in heaven continue to love. Our moms are always with us; they are very much alive in the deepest parts of our hearts.
So today, if you’re blessed to be a mom, cheers to you! You are the core from which your seed(s) are blossoming beautifully. Happy Mother’s Day to each of you, and lots of love and gratitude to my dear mom and my dear Barbra.