Joy and heartbreak in equal measure. A reminder of what I have a gained and what I have lost. A day with with much laughter, but a day clothed in an underlayer of grief and loss.
I am a mother, but I lost my mother. So many of us have lost so much this year. So much time with family, so many opportunities to relive past grief. Mother’s Day is for me, another of those days.
I have so much to thank God for as a mother. He made me a mother and blessed me 9 times, 9 lives entrusted to our care, 9 lives to pray for, 9 children to hold and nourish, 9 pregnancies and births in which to learn to lean on the Lord and to trust him completely.
I am who I am because I am a mother. I am who I am because I lost my mother as a child. Childhood grief has shaped me. After losing Mum I put a wall up to protect myself from hurt, then Phil came along and brick by brick it came down and then with each child God has opened my heart up to love, receiving his love and his gifts.
Grief never ends, but God brings comfort in the grief. We can get lost in grief, but when we turn to the Light, he guides our path through the darkness of grief. Losing my mother has left a hole, one that God has filled many times over the years with mothers. Older women have often mentored me and filled that role that was missing in my life.
The last year has for all of us been hard, in different ways. For me I have realised that that hole still exists and that with the lack of family and church contact it has remained empty. Each day I wake knowing that there is an empty part of me. Some days I am so busy I can forget, but when I need that comfort, that comfort I needed as a teenager without a mum, the comfort of being cared for, I long for her arms.
I know in many ways I long for that which may not even have existed if she was here today. As adults we relate differently to our parents, but I never knew what that relationship with Mum would look like; and so in times of loss, I tend, temporarily, to revert back to the lost child that I was, looking for someone to hold me.
God in his great mercy gave me Phil, my safe place. His arms have held me when I’ve sobbed. As a young girl, after Mum’s death I couldn’t cry, as I didn’t feel safe to let go, as Dad was grieving too. Now I do feel safe and I can let go and I know that Phil will support me completely.
More merciful still was God’s gift of himself to me. His love for me carries me each day. I pour out love, as a mother and wife each day, as God pours his love into me.
God chose this path for me and he knew it would hurt. I’m ok with that. This path has led me to him, to Phil and to being a mother, I could never want for more. I know my mum would delight to see the life I have and the grandchildren she has. One day they will all play together in Heaven, until then I will tell them stories of Nana Chris and how she hugged me and loved me. I will tell them I miss her but that God understands what it means to grieve. For when Lazarus died, ‘ Jesus wept.’
My Mum was an English teacher and could write poetry. I remember her helping me with writing an ‘Animal Farm’ poem for English a year before she died, I say help, but I think it was largely her skill on display! Anyway I remember it was good and the teacher asked me to read it out to the class. She also always wanted to write a book. So I know when I write, a little of my Mum lives on in me.
So for Mum on Mothers’ Day….
I watched you slowly slip away,
Your lips were turning blue,
You had no strength to carry on,
Your time on earth was through.
For years you’d fought the battle,
In your body and your mind,
As cancer took its grip on you,
And peace you couldn’t find.
The fear was all-consuming,
The pain filled every hour,
Your fear was for the future,
Over it you had no power.
I cuddled you in bed at night,
We talked about your fear,
You asked me if I thought you’d die,
Something no child wants to hear.
You told me that you loved me,
The last words I heard you say,
They’re imprinted on my memory,
I can hear them to this day.
Childhood abruptly ended,
As I stoically marched on,
The cuddles in your bed at night,
Would be forever gone.
School exams, they came and went,
I faced them without you,
My driving test, first day at work,
I needed you then too.
You never met my husband,
Never saw my wedding day,
Never met my children,
Never watched them play.
I wonder what it’s like,
To have a mum who you can phone,
To tell her all your problems,
Even after you’ve left home.
But there never was a moment,
That Jesus didn’t see,
As I tried to hold the pain inside,
He was holding me.
He knows I lost my mother,
He too wept for my loss,
I began my healing journey,
When I understood the cross.