Here we are again. The slow unfurling of green brightens the view out our windows and Mother’s Day is looming large on the horizon. We know what this means. We know social media will overflow with flowers and cards with handprints and breakfast in bed and spilled juice and smushy-jam-faced selfies.
I know you began steeling your heart when the calendar flipped from April to May; you glanced at that inconspicuous square, seemingly so identical to all the squares round about it. Yet a quiet chill seeped in and a sigh slipped loose that only you could hear. You don’t want to dread it. You don’t want to hold your breath as it approaches and, with painful sluggishness, passes. You don’t want this day to have this power over you.
And yet, it does.
You’ve pondered your options. Escape routes. A getaway. Hunker down under the covers. Draw the drapes. Silence the phone. Boycott social media in all its seeming mother-perfection.
I don’t know the specifics of why you dread it. You do. God does.
But I see you.
I see the empty arms of those desperately longing for motherhood; the eyes that have stared down a hundred pregnancy tests and been left wanting. The tears under the weight a grief so indescribable that unless you’ve walked in her shoes, you will not – cannot – understand. I see the wounded hearts of women who, in their very heart of hearts, are mothers without children.
I see the quiet stare of the woman cannot her hold her child, for her child is not here. I see the chasm between love and grief and life… the need to carry on though part of her is so deeply crushed recognition is difficult. The desire to find joy only to be reminded in oh-so many ways of the beloved one caught too soon to Jesus’ arms. The age of the child or the means of the loss matter little… should a mother outlive her own?
I see the daughters… the ones who know that a girl always needs her mama. That woman in her life who chose to love and raise up and answer the midnight calls of “Mama!” when fevers spiked and bad dreams crept out of the closet. Regardless of how and when she passed, this May day dissipates time and suddenly goodbyes feel fresh again and a raw grief slices through a grieving heart: she is not here.
I see you, friend. If I could sit down with you over coffee, I would tell you it’s okay.
No, not like that. It’s okay to feel this way, I mean. It’s okay that it hurts like hell and cuts deep and tears your heart with sobs. It’s okay. It’s okay to not be okay on Mother’s Day. It’s okay to let the sorrow rush down and let the grief breathe and to pull back a bit because the pain is so great. It. Is. Okay.
We’re told to move on. To dust ourselves off and pick ourselves up and carry on, as if grief is a static moment in time that we can pass and leave behind. “It’s just one day,” we’re told, and the exasperation in that tone is difficult to miss. And we get it, don’t we? We get that sometimes we’re difficult to be around. We get tired of our grief too, sometimes. We’d love for it to go away. Be done with. To have ‘just one day’ where the weight of it doesn’t make us ache with exhaustion.
It’s okay. Let sorrow rush down. Let grief breathe. The trenches are sloppy. Muddy. Cold. And you’re not alone.
I’ll be praying this weekend that God, from his unrelenting goodness, mercy and love, supplies whatever it is you need this week and this Sunday. I won’t pretend to know what it is. But He does. The One to Whom you belong knows your sorrow. To Him, you are never invisible, never insignificant, never left alone.
And dear one? He promises healing. Hope. A morning of bright joy after a long night of darkness. It’s not a fanciful wish or faint possibility. It’s a promise from the God of the universe, the creator of Heaven and Earth, the Heavenly Father whose only begotten Son shed his blood for you and for me.
Cling to Him. He will hold you fast. Today. On Mother’s Day. And for every day that follows.