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.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day!

It’s your first official Mother’s Day, Mommy! And I wanted to be the first to wish you Happy Mother’s Day! I know I’m still inside of you, but I won’t be for much longer.

You’re already a mommy, you know. You’ve been carrying me around for over eight months now. I’ve been living inside you all that time. My heart has been beating from the moment I was conceived, and God placed me inside of you. I’ve been breathing inside you, taking nourishment from you, and growing bigger and bigger every day. I listen to your heartbeat and the sound of your voice all the time.

The only things you haven’t been able to do yet are hold me in your arms, kiss my cheeks, cuddle me close, and see my face smiling back at you when you smile at me. But that will be soon. I promise.

You know, mothers are very special. Dads are, too. But mothers are totally and completely unique…you’ve already spent over eight months carrying me inside of you, taking me everywhere you go. You never stop thinking about me, and wondering what I’ll look like. What color eyes and hair I’ll have. What my voice will sound like. Will I be happy or temperamental?

You’re also thinking, “Will I know how to take care of a baby? After all, I’ve never really done that before. I’ve babysat, but that’s not taking care of a child full time. Am I up to this? Will I be a good mother?”

If course you will, Mommy. God wouldn’t have given me to you unless He knew you’d be the very best mother for me.

Well, Mommy, I’ve never been a baby before. I’ve never lived outside of your body, except for my time up in heaven. I’ve always been safe and comfortable inside of you, so this is all new to me, too. We’re going to be learning how to do this together.

We’ll have to be patient with each other. I’ll do things you don’t understand, and I probably won’t either. We’ll both figure them out together. There’ll be times when we’re both tired and want to sleep, but we won’t be able to. Sometimes I’ll cry and you won’t know why…and possibly neither will I. That will be challenging…but we’ll get through it.

But there will be other times that will be so happy! We’ll do all kinds of fun things together. You’ll play with me while you’re giving me a bath. You’ll cuddle with me in our favorite chair, and read a book to me, and point out the pretty pictures. You’ll talk to me and share secrets with me that I won’t tell, because I won’t be able to talk yet. We’ll go for walks, with you pushing me in my stroller. You’ll watch me to learn to crawl, and then take my very first steps.

And then you’ll wonder why I’m growing up so quickly.

So Happy Mother’s Day, Mommy. This year your gift is me! And I’m going to be here soon! I promise!

Until then, good night, Mommy. I love you!

XOXOXOXOXO Pink-Roses-For-Mothers-Day

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!