In this unusual season of quarantine, I think Mother’s Day looks much different than anyone had anticipated. Some may have their mother and children physically alive but can’t visit them for fear of sickness or “Shelter in Place” orders. There are many of us who have a more permanent situation where our visits aren’t met with a hug but rather a headstone. Either way, we are all grieving in some way, shape, or form the way things once were. I can only pray that we all take this time to connect in fun ways for those who are still here and find a reason to celebrate this special bond that is between a mother and a child.
As I stood in the hospital room watching my son’s heartbeat for the last few times, I was in shock. The whole room played out like a slow-motion scene, I felt frozen. I didn’t know how to move or if I could ever breathe again. Elijah was our whole world and all I could think of was, “How do I live without you?”
This scene has played out in my mind for years. I never know when it will strike but when it does I find myself deep in thought. Sometimes it’s just to remember that he was really here. Sometimes the memories torment me as I cave into fear.
Photo credit to Priscilla Du Preez
I picked up my phone the other day to call a friend. We were chatting for a while when she asked me a question about some struggles that I have been dealing with Covid-19. I explained the trigger about how hard it was during those final hours with my son. I explained how I had let him down by not getting him to the hospital sooner and how much he suffered because I didn’t know how sick he was.
She paused and then asked me if I had forgiven myself. It caught me off guard but then I gave a long-winded explanation that finally ended with a, “Yes, I have but I haven’t… If you know what I mean.”
She stayed quiet for a minute and then began to share her heart from her point-of-view. She was young when she lost her mother. As she began to open up about her mother’s last days, I leaned in to listen. As she spoke I felt she gave me a perspective of life that I hadn’t walked but could relate to.
Then she said, “I haven’t had to go through what you have, but I get it.”
Her words washed over me like freshly fallen rain. Like a fellow soldier who had been hurt in battle but didn’t stop till she realized that her sister had fallen. She tenderly helped bind up my wounds with truth in love. As she spoke about her journey I could feel the salve of understanding and compassion lifting my heavy heart. At that moment, I knew I wasn’t alone.
As we chatted she pointed out that even though we didn’t know each other, we were probably in the hospital at the same time. I had never made the connection until then, it was in April of 2005 that our worlds had unknowingly collided. We both unexpectedly had to say goodbye when our lives were just starting to begin.
As she so rightly pointed out, G-d had created our relationship intentionally. He placed us together to be able to heal and walk out a journey that so many I pray will never have to know.
As I listened to her reflect on her mother, it’s like her mother came alive in my mind! I could hear my friend chuckle describing her in a way that made me wish I had met her myself. I will never look at my friend the same way as now. I learned where she got most of her characteristics from. My friend was her mother’s rainbow baby (a baby born after the loss of other children). Her mother had several miscarriage and then she was elated to finally have my friend! The child she had always wanted! I could hear my friend’s voice beam as she shared, it was a sacred moment.
The bond between a mother and a child is unbreakable, even in death. I believe there is a longing in every child to be connected and accepted by their mother. No matter how their life plays out, even in deep brokenness and pain, there is a desire that goes beyond words to be connected to the one that gave you life.
For so many of us, our greatest fear is that the memories of our loved ones would be forgotten. For those who have lost their beloved mother or child, we love hearing you say their names. There is no greater gift than a conversation to help bring to life the ones who left an indelible imprint on their heart. Listen for their words to illuminate with joy as they remember the treasures that are awaiting them in Heaven. It is a gift to learn from those who once breathed their last breath into our hearts. We get to carry their amazing lives in our memories no matter how long or short they were.
As I close, for those who have just lost their loved one recently or are still walking the heavy journey of grief, I now realize that I don’t have to live without my children, because they are always with me. As we are all learning from this great time of separation that we were made to be together. I believe that togetherness begins here and continues into eternity.
On days where we long to hold them, may we hold those that are around us tighter. Let us not take one day for granted and celebrate the lives of those He has placed in our life strategically. May we be filled with gratitude to know that we have gotten to experience a taste of Heaven here on earth.
May You realize today that G-d created you. We all are the children He has always wanted.
Happy Mother’s Day