Still Missing You

It’s now been almost sixteen years since I last spoke to you. Since I was last able to hug you and kiss you. Talk about life and share stories.

It’s been too long since I was last able to talk to you about things I was going through; that I needed your advice about. And there have been so very many times in these last almost 16 years that I’ve needed to talk to you. To tell you what’s going on. 

To tell you about our happy times. About your granddaughter’s wedding and her wonderful husband. To tell you about your two beautiful great granddaughters, one who’s named after you.

To tell you about your friends and what’s been going on in their lives.

To ask for your guidance and advice, because even though I’m an adult, and now a grandmother as well, I still want so much to be able to talk with you and ask for your help. 

Although I’ve been on my own without you for all this time, it doesn’t mean that I don’t still want your insight on life. I miss being able to talk about my problems with you. Because you always seemed to have the right answers, whether I understood it at the time or not.

You and I survived the untimely loss of my father together. You were there for me while your own heart was shattered into a zillion pieces, and while I didn’t totally understand the whole situation and what it meant, since I was only 8 years old, you hid so much pain from me so I could have as normal a childhood as possible, with you being mom as well as dad to me.

It wasn’t until I lost you that I discovered all the challenges and problems you faced during that time. You never told me, and I’d never asked.

You helped me through two painful divorces and never once criticized my choices. You helped me through heartbreak and encouraged me that I’d eventually find the right one. And you were right.

You were with me when my husband Ben went through his first open heart surgery, at a time when that was not a common operation. You were probably as worried as I was, but you never told me. You only encouraged me and assured me he’d be okay. And he was.

You supported me in the pain of infertility; you rejoiced with me when I finally got pregnant and gave you a granddaughter. And you suffered with me when I had a tubal pregnancy which caused me to lose the babies I was carrying, and almost caused me to lose my mind. Because you knew exactly how I felt, because you’d had the same problems, but had kept them all to yourself.

You loved your granddaughter unconditionally and did everything you could for her. And you would have been so very happy to see her married and now with two little girls of her own.

So many times I’ve wanted to be able to tell you. To share with you, and ask what advice you could give in so many situations. Or just listen to me share my joys as well as my worries.

I miss you so much. Holidays and family times are still not the same without you. I still miss your smile, your presence, and your unconditional love. I still dream about your being with us, and wake up wondering if that dream was sent to me to remind me you’re still watching over me. There are even times, when out of nowhere, I clearly hear your voice saying my name. 

I will continue to miss you because we are part of each other. I will always love you. And I will never forget you.

And I know the day will come when we are together again. Until then,

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. I love you.

Mother’s Day – The Tears Still Come – 2019

Saturday, May 7, 2016, the day before Mother’s Day that year, I did something that I hadn’t done in ten years. I went into my favorite card shop, which in itself is not unusual, but going to the Mother’s Day card section was. I had no idea that going in to buy a Mother’s Day card for the first time in ten years could be so difficult. Even though it was for our daughter

Looking at the display of Mother’s Day cards that were still left I was suddenly overwhelmed. Especially since I had just written two other blogs about Mother’s Day. I thought after ten years I could handle it. And I did, but not without the tears forming in the corners of my eyes. And sensing that familiar feeling of sobs forming in the back of my throat. You’d have thought my loss was much fresher than ten years ago.

I had just talked to a good friend a few hours previously whose mother passed away two years ago (now five years ago), actually on Mother’s Day. That was still fresh sorrow, fresh grief. She was crying for her mommy, and I felt her pain, and I was crying with her as I tried to comfort her and encourage her. When I told her that her mom knew how much she loved her and was watching over her, that helped some. But such pain takes many years to be healed.

And there I was. Standing in the middle of that card store in front of a display of cards I couldn’t even begin to read. I’d already picked out the gift for our daughter, which also made me start to tear up, since it was a Willow Tree angel of a mother holding her new infant. I certainly had to get her a card, but how many would I have to go through before I found the perfect one for her? Before I could get out of that store before I started actually crying and the other shoppers thought I’d lost my mind?

It’s not that I was sad our daughter was getting ready to have her first baby. On the contrary, I was thrilled beyond measure. But suddenly in that store, I realized once again that my own mother was no longer around, and I missed her more than ever! I wanted to share my happiness with her that I was going to be a grandmother, and she was going to be a great-grandmother. I wanted to see the smile on her face, and the sparkle in her eye, hear the excitement in her voice as we talked about all the wonderful times ahead for all of us. Four generations of amazing women.

But only three generations are still alive. Which includes our (then) soon to be born granddaughter.

Yes, the tears still come on Mother’s Day when you no longer have your mother with you. It doesn’t matter how long ago she left. Ten or fifteen years, two years, two months. It still hurts. It doesn’t matter how old we were when we lost her. I was 56. Another friend was 68 when she lost her mother. Another was only 26, and another 18. We all had more memories we wanted to make with them, but now we can only make them in our dreams.

There will always be reminders of her, and I shouldn’t be surprised at my reaction that day. I’m sure I’m not the only one who had similar experiences.

But I am thankful for the years we had with her. I am thankful for her love. And I am thankful for the promise of spending eternity with her.

The following year was easier. And the year after that. And this year, when I was again getting a card and realized sour daughter now has two beautiful children. And I couldn’t help but wish my mom could see her two great granddaughters. She would be so happy! And so proud!

I like to think that she does somehow see them. No, I have no idea how, but I do know that the Lord loves us so much that He wants us to be happy, and I can’t imagine Him not letting her, as well as my dad, see their great grandchildren once in a while. Because I know that would make them happy as well.

Mom, now I realize how you felt when you became a grandmother. I just wish I could have given you another one, because having two is even more than double the excitement, and double the enjoyment. I can still tell your sister Pauline, and I can send her pictures of them, but it’s still just not the same. I know she loves getting them and hearing about them, but still…..

Mom, I hope your Mother’s Day in heaven is wonderful! I still love you, and I always will. And please watch over our beautiful Rachel and Ryleigh for us.

Celebrating Moms, Part Three

Note: I had already written this when I saw this quote which perfectly sums up this particular blog. **

“We become mothers the very moment we open our hearts to the idea of conceiving a child.”

We’ve talked about moms who had difficult pregnancies and deliveries. We’ve talked about birth mothers who unselfishly decided to give up their babies for adoption.

But there’s one other category of moms we need to talk about for this Mother’s Day.

The women who desperately want to have a baby, but for whatever reason, are either having a very tough time getting pregnant, and staying pregnant, or are just unable to conceive.

And for them, Mother’s Day is a very difficult day. Because in their hearts, they’re moms. But in reality, they’re still trying to get to that place of honor.

It’s a difficult situation to be in. Their friends are having babies, or already have babies. Their relatives are having babies. They’re invited to baby showers and have to put on a strong face and a fake smile to hide their disappointment and envy.

Well-meaning people casually ask when they’re going to start a family and they fight back tears and try to give an answer like “when we’re ready” or something like that, when all they want to do is scream, “We’re trying and it’s not working, and it’s none of your business!”

They see pregnant women and try to fight back their tears while quickly walking away from them.

They avoid the baby department at stores because it hurts too much.

They avoid the greeting card department in grocery stores during this time of year because that’s also a painful reminder of what they don’t yet have. And then the new baby cards are also there…

They hear other women making comments about how they wished they’d never had kids, and want to go up to them and say “I’d gladly take them off your hands if you don’t want them.”

They read stories about women demanding the right to abortions and saying how glad they are to have had that choice, and they just want to die inside from the pain of knowing a woman could choose to abort a child she conceived, when she’d trade places with them in a heartbeat to be able to carry a child.

This, my friends, is the pain of infertility. It’s a terrible thing. And unless you’ve experienced it, like I did, as well as several of my friends, you have no idea what it’s like. It’s an emotional pain that cannot be cured. An emptiness in your heart that won’t go away.

Yes, we were lucky to finally have a child. It took a long time, and a lot of painful and expensive procedures, but we were finally successful that one time. And for that we’re forever thankful to a wonderful doctor who helped us become parents. We were fortunate. Many are not. We also experienced secondary infertility when trying to have another child. And let me tell you this…it’s almost as painful, even though you have one child.

So on this Mother’s Day, let’s also remember the women who so desperately want to be called “mommy”. You may not know who they are, but they certainly do. And let us pray that one day soon they will have that gift of a child that they so desperately want, because that’s the best gift they could ever receive.

** https://nowilaymedowntosleep.org/2019/04/23/internationalbereavedmothersday/

Celebrating Moms, Part Two

Yesterday’s blog celebrated mothers, especially those who had a tough time with their pregnancy. And they are certainly deserving of a lot of appreciation, every day, not just Mother’s Day.

But what about some other very special mothers? The ones who find out they’re pregnant, and are many times in a situation in which they just cannot care for a baby right now, or they know they’re just not ready to take on the responsibility of motherhood. They also believe, as I do, that abortion is not an answer. Once a baby is conceived it is just that: a baby. It is a living human being that is living inside his or her mother until he or she can be born and begin life outside of the mother.

In that case, what does the mother decide to do? It’s not an easy situation, an easy decision. But it’s one that is a life and death matter for that child who was conceived.

Many women, and sadly, not nearly as many as there used to be, make a very difficult decision to have their baby and then let a family adopt their child to raise and it becomes their own.

After carrying a child for nine months I cannot even begin to comprehend how very difficult such a decision is. But I admire each and every one of the birth mothers out there who make that totally unselfish and loving decision, when it would have been so much easier to simply abort the child and move on with their life plans. But they knew that wasn’t the answer.

When my husband and I could not have another child, we began trying to find a child to adopt so that our daughter could have a sibling. Some thirty years ago we were considered too old to adopt, and because we already had a child, we were further deemed to be disqualified. No, it wasn’t right, but those were the rules.

So we tried to find a child through private adoption, searching for a birth mother who wasn’t ready for that baby, but didn’t want to abort it. And that was a very difficult process as well. We finally found one, and met with her. We were hopeful. She already had a five month old daughter and just couldn’t imagine having another child so soon. We were hopeful, but when she and her boyfriend found out it was a boy, they changed their minds. And yes, that was hard on us as well. And I still wonder off and on about that child, now grown into a man.

But to all the birth mothers out there who have had children and unselfishly given them to other families to raise as their adopted children, who know they most likely will never see those children again or know anything about them, please know how very much I admire you. How thankful I am for your gift of life and your gift to parents who otherwise would not be parents. I have some very good friends who benefited from someone like you, and I know they are thankful to you for your gift every day of their lives.

These birth mothers aren’t able to celebrate Mother’s Day in the traditional ways. Even if they’re now married and have other children, there’s still a missing place in their heart for that child they gave up to someone they didn’t know in order to give that child the life he or she deserved.

They may or may not be lucky enough to one day meet the child they placed to be raised with someone else. They may or may not be lucky enough to be welcomed into that now-grown child and his/her family’s lives.

But I can almost guarantee that every one of those birth mothers still remembers the day and time that she gave birth. She remembers seeing that child at the moment of birth, and she remembers how she felt when she made the decision that changed all of their lives forever.

And for the majority of them, it’s not something they tell anyone about, many times their husband doesn’t even know for many years, if ever. It’s just too personal a decision to discuss.

And for those reasons, we celebrate all of the birth mothers on this Mother’s Day, along with all the adoptive mothers who were blessed with that most special gift…the gift of becoming a mom!

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you!

Please don’t miss Celebrating Moms, Part Three, to be published May 10.

Celebrating Moms, Part One

Since it’s almost Mother’s Day, and since our daughter just gave birth to their second adorable baby girl, it’s especially appropriate to write about moms today.

Because without them, none of us would be here!

Each of us had a mother who gave birth to us. She carried us for some 8-9 months (maybe less, depending on her circumstances, but that’s a different subject). In many cases, especially with my own mother and our daughter, she was terribly sick the entire pregnancy.

My mother spent the majority of her pregnancy in bed because she was so sick with me, a fact I only recently discovered. She couldn’t eat much, and had trouble keeping food down. Instead of going to regular doctor appointments her doctor came to the house to see her (yes, 69 years ago when doctors routinely made house calls). She felt so bad she didn’t even tell people she was expecting, because she was so afraid she’d have another miscarriage. How many she had, I have no idea, nor does her sister. My Aunt Mary came over almost every day to help my father out by taking care of her while he was at work. My Aunt Pauline also helped her as much as possible.

When the time came to have me, the doctor told my dad to “Take her to the hospital now. Don’t break any speed limits, but don’t waste any time either.” Because I was a breech baby, and he knew it would be a difficult delivery. My mother didn’t know, and I’m not sure my father did either. But the doctor obviously did.

And my mom said when I was coming out, the doctor was carefully watching the clock in the delivery room, because he knew he had to get me out quickly! No C-sections then! And he did, and knowing that good doctor, I’m sure he was as happy as my parents when I was born safe and healthy!

How many other mothers go through such things that we never hear about, never even think about!

Our own daughter has had two pregnancies so far, both of them very difficult. With each one, she was sick and threw up almost every day. The foods she regularly enjoyed she couldn’t eat. She couldn’t drink water because it made her sick; ice chips were ok, and soda. No milk. Ice cream once in awhile would stay down.

With the first pregnancy she got so dehydrated she had to go to the hospital for IV fluids five times, and even had a port in her arm for home health to give her fluids. This second pregnancy was better and she only had to go for IV fluids twice! But she was still sick almost daily, and that was with taking anti nausea medication.

My cousin’s wife was on bedrest the last 3-4 months of her pregnancy with their twins. Several of my friends or their daughters have been told to do the same because of the risk of early delivery.

Pregnancy is obviously not easy for every woman. It’s difficult. Even if you’re not sick like my mom and my daughter, and many other women, you’re still carrying around a lot of extra weight, and as it gets closer to the due date, your back hurts, you have trouble walking, you can’t get comfortable, and you’re just genuinely miserable.

And then there’s the actual birthing and delivery. The baby has to come out, after all! And he/she is coming when it’s time, whether you are or not.

Even with pain killers, it’s not a fun process. And if you have a C-section, you’re having major abdominal surgery as well as having a baby. Your muscles are cut, making it difficult to move around, much less care for a newborn! I had that, and if I hadn’t had my husband AND my mother (who was 76 years old at that time) to help me out that first week, I don’t know what I’d have done. Our daughter has had both babies by C-section, and the last one was quite difficult for her, and very painful afterwards.

But was it worth it? Absolutely!

So let’s think about all this as we prepare to celebrate Mother’s Day this year. What did your mother, wife, or girlfriend go through to have her baby? Then thank her for what she went through. Because I can tell you, it wasn’t easy, but it was sure worth it!

Please don’t miss Celebrating Moms, Part Two, to be published May 9.

Moms Are Special

Even after almost 12 years I still find myself missing her so much. There are many, many times that I wake up just wanting to talk to her one more time.

That feeling is magnified when I talk to friends whose mothers are going through serious illnesses, and when I see the pain of worry in their eyes and hear the fear in their voices as they talk about the surgeries or the chemo their mom is facing. When they talk about her memory issues and how scared they are about what could be ahead.

It makes my heart hurt. For both of them.

Because I know all too well how they feel.

Moms are so special. Most of us have been blessed with wonderful loving mothers who would have given their lives for their children…and if they’re still around, they still would.

When we’re very young, our moms are the ones who are always there for us; who encourage us; guide us; and yes, tell us when we’re wrong, even though we may not want to hear it at the time. As we get older our relationship evolves into not only a deeper love, but a friendship that only another mother and daughter can understand.

And when that relationship is threatened because Mom is seriously ill, we just want to return to that easier time, when we were kids and Mom was younger and healthy, and our biggest problem was what to eat for dinner or wear to school for picture day.

Because our moms are special. Whether we’re lucky enough to see or talk to them every day, or only see them once or twice a year, they’re still our moms, and just knowing they’re at least only a phone call away gives us a sense of comfort. A sense of comfort we don’t totally appreciate until it’s gone.

It seems like forever since I’ve been able to talk to my mother. But I still remember the sound of her voice, and I can still hear her say my name in my mind, almost as clearly as if she were standing behind me. I hope I never lose that sound. There are so many times I need to hear it.

I never really had a fear of losing her. Not until the last year or so of her life when it suddenly became clear she wasn’t going to be with us forever. She’d been a part of my life for so long, I’d never even thought about that possibility. I just always accepted she’d be part of our lives forever. But no one lives on this earth forever.

I miss her. A lot. Even after so many years there are still times I find myself saying, “I need to tell Mom that!” Or, “Mom will love hearing about what Rachel (her great-granddaughter who’s named after her) did today!” Sometimes I even pick up my phone and start punching in her number (yes, I still remember it)…until I remember I can’t. She’s not there anymore. And I don’t know her phone number up in heaven.

Even at my age, I still miss her. There are so many times I still need to talk to her. To get her advice. To share special moments of happiness. And be comforted when things go wrong as only my mother could do.

Mom taught me well, although I didn’t know it at the time. She taught me what it means to be a mother, and passed a very special and important baton to me when she left. You see, now I’m the mother that’s the head of our family. The matriarch. I’m the one our daughter looks to during those moments, those times a daughter just needs her mom. And even then, I find myself longing for my own mom’s advice, because I know I can never fill her shoes.

I wonder if she felt that way about her own mother. Somehow I believe she did. After all, Mother’s are special, especially to their daughters.

As we approach Mother’s Day, a holiday that’s still hard for me because she’s no longer here to enjoy it with, let me remind each of you to remember how special your mother is. If she’s still here, spend time with her, and if you’re not lucky enough to live nearby, call her, and talk to her as long as you can.

Even if your relationship with her isn’t good, for each of your sakes, make the call, or drop by for a short visit. At least she’s still around. One day she won’t be, and you won’t have the opportunity any more.

Mom, I miss you. I love you. I still need you here. But I can’t change things. I know you’re happy where you are, because you’re with my father again. But I still selfishly wish you were here.

Happy Mother’s Day. I hope it’s wonderful up in Heaven. And I hope you can get a glimpse of us as we’re celebrating three generations of women in our family. We love you. And miss you terribly.

Because you’re special. And always will be.

A Letter to a Mother to Be

You just found out you were pregnant. This isn’t your first baby. You’ve had several.

You know all of the symptoms. All the feelings. That excitement and wonder of new life growing inside you. You may be almost 40 years old, but the excitement is as strong as it was with your first one, some 17 years ago.

The problem is, you’re no longer married. You already have five children, the youngest just starting school. You’re excited, but you’re also scared. Not only of what other people will say or think, including your children and family, but what the baby’s father will think. He has no children. He’s never even been married.

You love this man, and want to spend the rest of your life with him. But you don’t know where the baby fits in with these plans. You’ve never thought about it; never discussed it. You never had reason to. You don’t know how he’ll react, but

because you love him so much and he loves you, it’s going to be all right.

Or is it?

And it’s almost Mother’s Day. The day you’ve always enjoyed because it means so much to you to be “Mom” to those five wonderful children. Sure they’re a handful, and it’s been challenging, to say the least. Especially since the divorce. You’re not sure you’re doing everything the way you should now. In fact, you’re a huge bundle of nerves and emotions now, probably because you’re pregnant again, and probably because you know you’re going to have to tell tell the baby’s father.

Tonight. You’re going to break the news tonight. And you don’t know how he’s going to react. You don’t want to lose him. But you also know that you don’t want to lose this new little life already growing inside you. The life you two created together, just like the five other lives you created with your ex-husband. You wouldn’t trade them for anything.

You wouldn’t trade away one sleepless night, one of those rushed trips to the doctor for stitches, fevers, and ear infections. You’d not give up any of those precious good night kisses, middle of the night snuggles, handmade Mother’s Day cards, the little bunches of dandelions lovingly presented by your three year old who couldn’t wait to tell you, “I picked these for you all by myself.”

No, you wouldn’t trade any of it away, and you wouldn’t give up any opportunity to have those wonderful moments just one more time.

So tonight, what are you going to do if he isn’t happy? If he tells you it’s him or the baby? Sure you’ve thought about it. But in your heart, you know what the right thing to do will be. And you’ll do it.

I can’t tell you what will happen tonight. But I can tell you not to be afraid of any decision you have to make, because I know you’ll make the right one. The unselfish one.

You may end up having this baby without the support of its father. You may end up broken hearted because he decides to leave. Or you might find the beginning of what you hope will be “happily ever after.”

It’s hard to predict this particular outcome. But no matter what happens, what he says or does, I know you’ll make the right decision. You’ll hold your head up. You won’t be embarrassed or ashamed. Your children will be excited. Your real friends will be supportive and help you as much as they can. The ones that talk about you, whisper behind your back…they aren’t your real friends.

And you will make a wonderful life with your soon to be six children. A life you would never have ever imagined…..

It’s almost Mother’s Day. Celebrate that new life and all it means, because a new life is always precious, and should never be taken for granted or discarded.

To My Mother on Mother’s Day

I want to wish you the very happiest Mother’s Day ever.

Except you’re not here to celebrate with us any more. And each Mother’s Day I continue to miss you and wish so very much you were still here. Even if it were just for this one special day.

Especially this year.

Because this would have been the year you’d celebrate Mother’s Day as a great-grandmother. Not that you weren’t a GREAT grandmother to Ashley, because you were the best! But this year you’d actually have that title. Great-grandmother. That beautiful little baby in the photo above…that’s your great-granddaughter in her first few hours of life. The little girl named after you. Almost a year ago.

She made you a great-grandmother.

And I know you’d wear that title proudly. You wouldn’t mind a bit if anyone knew your age then, because you’d wear it as a badge of honor. Because that granddaughter you’d waited so long for had given you her daughter to bestow that title on you.

So many, many times I’ve wished you could see your namesake. Baby Rachel is beautiful. A wonderful, happy, smiling little girl. We’d be four generations of strong and loving women….that would have been so wonderful.

So many times I’ve wanted to be able to call and tell you about our granddaughter, about that funny little thing she just did, or how especially cute she was that day, or how much fun all of us had taking her shopping, like you used to do with her mother.

But there are no phones in heaven. No mail delivery. No photo albums. No Skype. I can’t reach you except in my mind and in my dreams.

So many times I’ve wished we’d had smartphones when Ashley was a baby so we could’ve sent you daily pictures and videos of her like we get every day of Rachel. So many times I’ve looked at our granddaughter and seen a glimpse of your smile, your look, and suddenly felt like a part of you was still with us, laughing with us, and just loving that precious baby.

But I’m hoping that somehow you know. I’m hoping somehow you’ve seen her, seen your beloved granddaughter with her own beautiful daughter. I’m hoping you and Daddy both have had that privilege to be able to share in all our happiness.

I remember so many years ago my Aunt Ruth telling us she believed the Lord let those in heaven see the happy family occasions that were happening with their loved ones back here on earth. Because heaven is a place of total joy, and seeing their loved ones rejoicing over special occasions would only make them happier. Somehow, in some way, I still believe that to this day.

So Mom, I’m wishing you a very special Happy Mother’s Day this year. Yes, I still miss you more than words can express. I still cry on occasion because you’re not here. I still talk to you in my mind, and I hope you can hear me. And I can still hear your voice in my head saying my name.

And when our granddaughter is old enough to understand, I’m going to tell her all about you. All about the things you used to do with her mother. And I’m hopefully going to get to do those same things with Rachel. Not that my cooking skills will be anything like yours, nor will I ever be able to play “school” like you did, but I’m going to try. You were a one-of-a-kind grandmother.

Just like you were a one-of-a-kind mother. And I still will cherish this picture of our three generations on our last Mother’s Day with all three of us.


Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. Grandmom. And Great-Grandmom. I’ll love you always.

A Very Special Mother’s Day

Of course they should all be special. It’s a day we honor our mother, the woman who brought us into this world. For most of us, she’s the woman who first loved us, and loved us unconditionally, fed us and played with us, cared for us, protected us, and was always there when we needed her.

But this year is an especially special Mother’s Day, at least in our family.

While it is my first Mother’s Day as a grandmother, more importantly, it’s our daughter’s first Mother’s Day as a mom to her own beautiful daughter.

For our daughter and son-in/law, and our whole family, this year has been one of many “firsts”, amazing days in which our granddaughter has passed those many special milestones as an infant. Her first bath, her first smile, her first tooth, her first trip to the zoo and the beach….

But more so, our daughter has grown from being a college student, to a wife, and to being a mother. And watching that transformation take place has been something totally amazing. We always knew she’d be a great mom, but as I watch her with her daughter, I’m just amazed, and very proud, on a daily basis.

Motherhood seems as natural to her as breathing. Her world has suddenly changed. Although her husband is the love of her life, her daughter is now the most important person in her world, her life, her greatest treasure.

As it should be. She now knows what it’s like to be willing to give up everything if her child needs something. That’s how a mom should be with her children, and that’s the mother our daughter has become.

To say we are proud of her is an understatement; there are no words to describe how we feel. She and her husband have become the parents we always knew they’d be. Their daughter is their world. A smile on that little one’s face can make a dreary and miserable day turn into a ray of sunshine that lights up their entire house.

Last year’s Mother’s Day was a miserable one for our daughter. She was just about at the end of a terrible pregnancy in which she’d endured overnight hospital stays, dehydration, daily nausea and vomiting, severe back and hip pains, and mostly sleepless nights. She couldn’t even eat her Mother’s Day brunch, and as her mother, I felt totally helpless because I couldn’t do anything to make her feel better. In fact, that’s how I’d felt almost during her entire pregnancy, because I couldn’t do anything for her. That’s part of being a mother to a mother-to-be. I kept telling her it would all be worth it, but it was hard for her to believe it at the time.

But she sure does now. As sick as she was the entire nine months, every time she looks at her beautiful daughter, holds her in her arms, and sees her laugh and smile, she knows it was all worth it.

And for me, well, personally, I must say the best Mother’s Day gift of all is watching my daughter being a mother to her daughter. For me, being a mother to the mother of our grandchild is the only gift I need. I don’t need a bouquet of flowers; my flowers are the pictures we receive each day of our beautiful granddaughter. I don’t need jewelry; our daughter and granddaughter are the sparkling jewels of my life.

Happy first Mother’s Day, Ashley Treasure the memories. I’m so very proud of the woman – and mother – you’ve become. Your grandmother would be so overjoyed, and I have a feeling that every so often the Lord gives her a glimpse of you and baby Rachel. And I can only imagine how happy that makes her!

I love you all so much! And one day you will know the feelings I’m having when your own daughter becomes a mother.

The Tears Still Come

Saturday, the day before Mother’s Day, I did something that I haven’t done in ten years. I went into my favorite card shop, which in itself is not unusual, but going to the Mother’s Day card section was. I had no idea that going in to buy a Mother’s Day card for the first time in ten years could be so difficult. Even though it was for our daughter

Looking at the display of Mother’s Day cards that were still left I was suddenly overwhelmed. Especially since I had just written two other blogs about Mother’s Day. I thought after ten years I could handle it. And I did, but not without the tears forming in the corners of my eyes. And sensing that familiar feeling of sobs forming in the back of my throat. You’d have thought my loss was much fresher than ten years ago.

I had just talked to a good friend a few hours previously whose mother passed away two years ago, actually on Mother’s Day. That was still fresh sorrow, fresh grief. She was crying for her mommy, and I felt her pain, and I was crying with her as I tried to comfort her and encourage her. When I told her that her mom knew how much she loved her and was watching over her, that helped some. But such pain takes many years to be healed.

And now here I was. Standing in the middle of that card store in front of a display of cards I couldn’t even begin to read. I’d already picked out the gift for our daughter, which also made me start to tear up, since it was a Willow Tree angel of a mother holding her new infant. I certainly had to get her a card, but how many would I have to go through before I found the perfect one for her? Before I could get out of that store before I started actually crying and the other shoppers thought I’d lost my mind?

It’s not that I’m sad our daughter is getting ready to have her first baby. On the contrary, I am thrilled beyond measure. But suddenly in that store, I realized once again that my own mother was no longer around, and I missed her more than ever! I wanted to share my happiness with her that I was going to be a grandmother, and she was going to be a great-grandmother. I wanted to see the smile on her face, and the sparkle in her eye, hear the excitement in her voice as we talked about all the wonderful times ahead for all of us. Four generations of amazing women.

But only three generations are still alive. Which includes our soon to be born granddaughter.

Yes, the tears still come on Mother’s Day when you no longer have your mother with you. It doesn’t matter how long ago she left. Ten or fifteen years, two years, two months. It still hurts. It doesn’t matter how old we were when we lost her. I was 56. Another friend was 68 when she lost her mother. Another was only 26, and another 18. We all had more memories we wanted to make with them, but now we can only make them in our dreams.

There will always be reminders of her, and I shouldn’t be surprised at my reaction that day. I’m sure I’m not the only one who had similar experiences.

But I am thankful for the years we had with her. I am thankful for her love. And I am thankful for the promise of spending eternity with her.

Will I have that same reaction next year when I go to buy our daughter a Mother’s Day card? I have no idea, but if I do, I know it’ll be okay. Because we never stop loving those we lose.

Mom, I hope your Mother’s Day in heaven was wonderful! And I still love you.

Memories of Mother’s Day

I still remember the last Mother’s Day we spent with my mom. Ten years ago. I remember it vividly, and I also remember thinking at the time, “this may be the last one we have together.” But I quickly dismissed it, because I didn’t want to think about that possibility. I made sure we took several family pictures of us all, even a few including her beloved dog Angel. But then again, I’d done that every year. But something about that particular year told me I had to make sure I had enough pictures.

And by the next Mother’s Day, it had all changed. Drastically. She’d only been gone for six months, and of course I still hadn’t gotten used to it. All I could remember was how we’d all been together last Mother’s Day, just a short year ago.

That first year it seemed everywhere I went there were Mother’s Day cards, Mother’s Day gift suggestions, Mother’s Day flower arrangements, and ads for special Mother’s Day brunches. It was a stark reminder that things had forever changed. Even when you’re a mom yourself and you’re being honored on that special day by your children and grandchildren, when you have no mother to buy cards and gifts for any more, no one to take out for a special brunch, it’s still hard. Father’s Day was always difficult, too, since I’d lost my dad at a very young age, but somehow those Father’s Day ads, at least in my case, weren’t quite as painful as those Mother’s Day reminders. Because all I had left of her were my memories.

For the first time I had no mother to buy cards for, and no cards to receive from her. There were no gifts to buy for her, and no visit to the home I grew up in to be with her. Our daughter had no grandmother to celebrate with, and even though she and her dad did everything they could to make the day happy for me, something was definitely missing. Something, meaning, someone, who could never be replaced.

When I was packing up things at my mother’s house I’d found a small stack of cards she’d bought for our birthdays, and a few other occasions. I saved them all and used them for my husband’s and daughter’s birthdays, and even signed her name to them. After all, she’d bought those cards for them, and they deserved to have them! One of the cards was a Mother’s Day card which had obviously been meant for me. Until I pulled it out that morning to put with the cards Ben and Ashley had given me, I hadn’t realized she’d signed it! There was her familiar handwriting, “Love, Mom”. She must have bought it for last year’s Mother’s Day, gotten it ready, and then couldn’t remember where she’d put it. But to me, it was as if the Lord had given me a sweet reminder of my mother’s love on a day on which He knew I’d need it more than ever!

But as hard as that first Mother’s Day was, I had to remember to count my blessings. I was blessed to have had my mother around for 56 years. Far too many other daughters, and sons, are not that fortunate. They lose their mothers at an earlier age, and are forced to grow up without a mother’s love and guidance, with their mothers missing so many important events of their life. My mother lived to finally see me happily married after two failed marriages. She lived to meet her precious granddaughter, and spend time with her for 18 years (and I have no doubt she is still watching over her from heaven every now and then). And she would be so thrilled on this Mother’s Day to know that her beloved granddaughter is about to give birth to her own daughter, and naming her Rachel, after her grandmother.

I was blessed to have a mother who loved me unconditionally; who sacrificed having things for herself so she could provide for me. Who unselfishly gave me the best life she could, being both mother and father to me, in a time when very few children grew up with only one parent. She taught me strength, self-worth, the importance of family and faith, and most importantly, the meaning of love. Even when I made dumb mistakes in my life, and I sure made a lot of them, she still loved me unconditionally. She never gave up on me.

Memories of her are all around. I have so many pictures of her, which is surprising, because she always hated having her picture taken. I have pieces of furniture from her house that my father had made for her, and I cannot look at them without a stream of memories flooding back. I have her engagement and wedding rings that I wear on special occasions to make me feel closer to her. I have her favorite recipes, written in her own schoolteacher’s careful handwriting. I even still have her wedding dress, now yellowed and torn, but a reminder of the special love she and my father shared.

Selfishly, I didn’t want to lose her. Even at her age of 94, I wasn’t ready for her to go. But she was tired, and she was ready to go be with the Lord and be reunited with the husband she’d lost 47 years previously, and had never stopped loving. We are not promised to live forever. Nor should we want to. Our final and glorious reward is waiting for us in heaven, and we’ve earned it. I know my mother did, and I know she is enjoying every heavenly second of that reward, in ways I cannot even begin to imagine.

My mother would never want me to be sad because she’s gone. She would not want me to continue to grieve over her, or cry over her, or be sad on Mother’s Day because she’s not with us. She would want me to celebrate with my family, and this year look ahead to my soon-to-be new title of grandmother. She would want me to enjoy the day, remember the good times we all spent together, and look ahead to even more good times with our granddaughter.

No, Mother’s Day will never be quite the same without my mother. But this is the time to make new memories. My mother would be so excited, and so thrilled, to be here to see her great- granddaughter enter the world, but then again, I believe she will somehow see that moment.

There are times I can still hear her voice in my head, and in my heart, softly saying my name. And I can also hear her saying, “This is the legacy I left with you. Cherish every moment. Because now you will not only know a mother’s love…you will know a grandmother’s love. I am so excited for you. You have no idea of the joy you are about to experience.”

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. I love you. And I always will. These flowers are for you!