Frequent readers, friends, and family members know that my mom passed away nearly ten years ago. I do not remember the last Mothers’ Day I had with her; in fact, I do not think I was with her. I actually do not think, at the time of Mothers’ Day that year, that I had accepted that she would die even though all indications had made that pretty clear. I do not remember the first Mothers’ Day after she died or any particular ones after that one.
Sometimes we choose to forget things that are painful.
Mothers’ Day should not be a day filled with pain, regret, fear, hurt, disappointment, or sadness. Yet – because life is what it is – we know that it is not pain free. We read it on the internet, we hear it from friends, and we know it in our hearts. Most of our greatest celebrations in life come with that tinge of some unwelcome feeling.
Sitting on my dining room table as I write these words is a box. On that box, my daughter has written, “Happy Mothers’ Day!” I will open this gift tomorrow, and I will love whatever is in the box because my children put thought and time into choosing something to give me.
What they do not know and may never fully understand is that no gift could ever be better than the fact that they exist. To be their mom has been one of the top three most defining and fulfilling experiences in my entire life. They are the best gift that they could give me, and that has already happened.
But what I want this Mothers’ Day is not a thing, an experience, or even my kids.
I want things to be different for people who cannot celebrate well on this day.
I want “wanna-be moms” to know that they are important and have something to give regardless of whether they have children from their own wombs. I do not use “wanna-be” in a derogatory sense here, and I apologize if anyone takes it that way. Most of the time if we want to be something, we see something in a position or other person that we want to emulate or copy. There are so many women – who want to be moms and who would make great moms – who are not. For Mothers’ Day this year, I want them to know that they are important, have much to give to children around them, and are a vital part of society. I want these women to be celebrated rather than relegated to the sidelines.
I want all kids to grow up with moms who raise them well and with a lot of love. This is a pretty tall order, but I want it. I do not want foster care to be a need in our country. According to adoptioninstitute.org, “Between 1971 and 2001, U.S. citizens adopted 265,677 children from other countries.” Imagine – if that many have been adopted, how many more remain without forever families? At the same time, according to childrensrights.org, “On any given day, there are approximately 400,000 children in out-of-home care in the United States.” We have so much need inside of our own country. I want children who are currently abandoned worldwide or in United States foster care to find loving homes, and I want the reasons that these needs exists to be erased from our world.
I want women who have lost children due to death, miscarriage, or abortion to feel joy on this day again. I have no idea how to make this happen. I feel like a broken record as I keep saying this. But I want it. I want those who feel that today is all about loss – a harsh remembrance of the grief that they feel – to know that today can be a day when they honor those who are no longer … or never were … with them. For some, they do not appear to be mothers because there was no child outside of the womb. I say to you, “You are mothers!” I realize that I may be causing controversy by including mothers who aborted children in this paragraph, but my interactions with those who have chosen abortion tells me that their loss is similar – and as complicated – to those who have lost children through other ways. How can we – as a society – show them that they are still honored today? I want moms who deal with the death of a child – however it occurred – to know that God’s love is great.
I want those who have lost moms to be comforted. I used to think that time healed fully. What I have realized is that time creates a scab on wounds and that days, events, reminders, pull those scabs off and reveal the wound again. Mothers’ Day can be one of those events. As the ten years have passed, the wound under the scab has become less intense, but the removal of the scab – whatever pulls it off hurts. The pain is intense for a while, and then it goes for a while. Some of us search for other people could “be mom” to us, but that only goes so far. Eventually, we realize that it just is not enough. And it never will be. I would love for moms to stop dying, but that is not the world that we live nor will it likely ever be. If they did not mean so much to us, it would not hurt so much when they were gone. Even if our relationships were strained, we hurt for what could have been.
As I wrap up this post, I want to share a bit from my faith-walk in this area.
God does not ignore us or turn a blind eye to our pain. He sees us, He hears us, and He wants things to be different as well. The mystery of free will means that pain will stay in our lives, but – in knowing God through His Son – we can see things differently. We can look up from our situation and see that there is more going on in a situation than just our pain. We can cry out in agony to the God who hears. He will turn our mourning into dancing. He will – some day in heaven – dry every tear, hold us close, and whisper, “You are mine, and you will never hurt again.”
Until then, may we be that voice for each other.
Whether you know it or not, You belong to God. He sees your pain today and every day – whether Mothers’ Day related or not. And He wants to hear from you.
Happy Mothers’ Day!