To the Empty Arms On Mother’s Day

I know that you see Mother’s Day on the calendar and it stings. Whether it’s the loss of a child or of your own mother, this day can be very difficult for many reasons. While children are scouring the stores or the backyard for their latest Mother’s Day finds, your heart is aching.

Maybe you long to be pregnant and you have been praying for two lines to appear on the magic eight ball of pregnancy test sticks. But time after time, only one line appears.

Maybe you have children and your heart longs for another baby to snuggle, but each month that goes by, your hope sinks. You are grateful for your children, but you long for more.

Maybe you were pregnant, but only for a brief time leaving you shell-shocked. Your mind was dreaming of nurseries, maternity wear, and so many unknowns of excitement, just to learn your baby’s heartbeat had stopped. And so did yours.

Maybe you are pregnant and you found out that something isn’t right with your baby. You are coming to grips with a grim diagnosis and you don’t know what the future holds. All you know is that you love your baby and you are begging G-d for his/her life. You are scared but so filled with love. You are praying and hoping that all will be well and you treasure each movement of your child all the more.

Maybe you had a wonderful pregnancy. Your nursery is complete, baby showers were had, and clothing had been washed and ready to go. You were as big as a house, and you were counting down the days to delivery when suddenly there was no movement. Your baby was born asleep.

Maybe you had your baby and your nights had been sleepless. Pictures were taken, diapers had been filled, and clothes were soiled. You were enjoying every moment with snuggles and admiring eyes when one day, your baby didn’t wake up.

Maybe your baby has turned into a toddler, goofball, giggle machine, a tween, or teenager, and something happened. The doctor came into the room as you held your breath in the hopes for good news. He shakes his head and you drop to the floor is guttural sobs. Your world has stopped and the tears can’t stop falling.

Maybe your baby had grown up and has babies of their own. You had been looking forward to watching them grow old. Only you got a phone call that you needed to get to the hospital and watched them helplessly fade before your very eyes.

Maybe your child has strayed away and your relationship is heavily strained. You feel incomplete without them and your heart aches to have the things back the way they were.

Maybe it’s your own mother that you are missing. No matter how old we are, our mothers hold a deep bond in our hearts. We are always our mother’s child and you miss hugging her and listening to her voice. You miss her words of encouragement, the smell of her perfume, and her everlasting love. Maybe she wasn’t perfect, but you were her’s and you miss her sweet embrace.

I know you feel an emptiness that no one else can fill and you ache to have your arms filled once more with those who had brought so much joy and meaning into your life.

I remember after the death of my first daughter we were in church. I had dreaded Mother’s Day as I knew there would be no cards, kisses, or snuggles from the one who had brought wholeness to my heart. I felt lost. Everyone else seemed to have their families bundled around them.  My daughter Aurora was gone and my arms were empty.

They had asked all of the mothers to stand. I was so so confused. Did I stand or was I not a mother anymore? How would I explain my baby’s ashes were in the locket around my neck and not in the nursery.

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My locket necklace with our daughter Aurora’s ashes. Photographed by Mark Nickerson.

My knees were weak and my sweet husband nudged me forward. I found myself half standing and felt like my legs were going to buckle. If I sat, that meant I was denying she had ever existed. If I stood how would I explain…

There are so many of us. They come to me and share their stories in whispers and sobs and they let me know, “I had a child once too….” And they open up stories that have been vaulted up for years.

Or those who lost their mother who say to me, “She has missed out on so much.  I wish she could have seen….”

So on this Mother’s Day, whether you don’t have any children, you have children, but some are missing, or you just miss your own mother, know that you are not alone.

Know that we are wrapping our arms around you as you shed your tears of longing. You are still their mother no matter what.

She will always be your mom, and that will never change.

This is your day. Go ahead and pull out the photo albums and share stories. Maybe do something in honor of that little one that is meaningful to you. Start a tradition that allows the missing to turn from heartache to heart warming.

For us, we go to the cemetery. I like to bring flowers and then rip off the petals and scatter them around as we sing songs to them.

That heartbreak that you feel shows that you are filled with so much love.

I like to think that our loved ones see us and are whispering,

I never went away.

I am with you always,

and we will hold each other again.

As a mother who has lost, my greatest fear is they will be forgotten.

But they won’t.

They are not only in the arms of our loving Father, but they are in our memories and our hearts. No one can take their place. All that love you have for them will be spilled over into so many who may never have known your kind of love.

Your tears are an example that love knows no boundaries and is eternal. That my sweet one is priceless.

To all the ones that we dream about, may we remember them because they forever changed our lives for the better. And we miss them…

Mother’s Day is a time of reflection for all mothers in every walk of life.

Do you know one of these mothers or daughters? It doesn’t matter if this happened years ago or recently, please let her know that her child/mother is remembered.

Say their names.

Ask them how they are doing.

Take a moment to stroll down memory lane with them.

If you can’t think of anything to say, just squeeze their hand and look into their eyes, they’ll know what you mean.

I guarantee you, you will make her day.

Please feel free to share this with anyone that you know who might find some comfort from these words.

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