I sat in the back row of the church where my husband and I worked. It wasn’t our normal spot. But this wasn’t a normal day. It was one I dreaded: I was grieving. I kept my head down and silent tears splashed. The choir sang, everyone dressed in their best. There was light-hearted joy in the room. I could sense it, but I couldn’t feel it. I tried to be invisible in my dark place, willing people to look away.
I couldn’t stand the pity. And yet I longed not to be forgotten.
It was Mother’s Day. And after three long years of infertility, I still wasn’t a mother.
That was 12 years ago and while my dream of becoming a mommy came true, I don’t ever want to forget that this day filled with flowers and homemade cards is painful for so many women.
I know many others who skip the day all-together–some because the relationship with their mothers is a raw wound others because their mom is gone and she left a space too large to fill.
Last year after my kids served me breakfast in bed, I received a phone call from our dear Maureen in Kenya. Just three weeks after losing her 7 year old nephew, her only sister died. Sucker punch. When I remember that day, and the overwhelming helplessness and grief, I am reminded again of the bittersweet.
If I’ve learned anything in the past two years working in a third world country, I’ve learned that woman are strong.
And that we are all the same.
We use spit to wipe a smudge, our hands to protect, our hearts to lead. We question, wonder, doubt and regret. But above all, we dream. We long for a world without war, heartache, poverty, loneliness.
We may be from a different culture, speak a different language, but no matter our circumstances, hope is always enough.
To all the women and mothers everywhere, Happy Mother’s Day.
I could feel her staring across the church, walking towards me. She inched closer and grabbed my hand. She squeezed tight. I held on and looked into her eyes. She never said a word, but the tears in her eyes said it all.
Whatever place you find yourself, think of the woman on the other side.
What to say When Words Aren’t Enough:
- Give a warm, meaningful hug
- Send a card, reminding her you remember
- Ask her how she’s really doing. Wait for her to answer.
- Use your past pain to help her thru her present
- Don’t pretend she’s not hurting
- Don’t tell her everything will be ok
- Pray for the women in our world