Mother’s Day, a time of flowers, cards, and phone calls home. Maybe Mom is in a nursing home, maybe she is still in the house where you were raised, maybe she is with you, or maybe she is gone. And just maybe, she is you. I am not alone when I think about all the women who want to be mothers but are not. Today, however I am thinking about those who were mothers yet still are.
How can that be? Your identity, your life, your purpose were tied to that little one, no matter what age they may be. Now they are gone and so is big part of you. I am married to such a mom, and I cannot pretend to know her feelings on such a day. But I do know this – it hurts.
Your other children, I trust, are alive and care about you, but like that lost sheep, you are the shepherdess who will not be satisfied until they are found.
“So, Jesus told them this story, ‘If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders. When he arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’” (Luke 15:3-7).
Oh, to put my arms around you like the Great Shepherd, to give you the love you have lost, the care you crave, the words you long to hear – but I have few.
I do have one thought, and I’d like to share it with you, mom. It’s really a question, “Are they lost?” Really? Or is it you who is lost? Are you looking for a way to be found, crying out in the wilderness? “God, find me, restore me, give me back my motherhood, my womanhood, my personhood. I am so lost without my child.”
After we lost our child I wondered about my fatherhood. Yes, we have other children but the loss so profound that my identity was in question. “Just who am I now?” I thought. I was lost. Still am, in part, but now I believe I am headed in the right direction. A direction that means someday I’ll be restored with my child.
Aaron is not lost, he is found, but he was not found by me. He is apart yet he is near. I talk to him, and I think I hear what he is saying. I cannot wrap my arms around him, even if I could he probably wouldn’t let me, but I feel him.
Mother’s Day hurts but it can hurt in a good way. Like running a race yesterday, today you are hurting, but it hurts good. The bitter-sweet hurt you feel is a paradox. It’s as much a paradox as feeling closer to your child than ever before or as much as feeling more like a mom than you ever did.
On this day, you may feel it in your gut. You see other moms picking up their little ones and your heart cries out. You feel their joy and your loss.
Confusing? Yea. But it doesn’t have to be so. Don’t fight the thoughts. Meditate. In meditation, ugly thoughts filter in with the beauteous thoughts. Don’t fight either. Let it be, let it go. Let it be, let it go. Read that again – this time slowly. Breath in as you read the first sentence, “Let it be.” Breath out as you read the next, “Let it go.” Now repeat. The work is in not working. The fight is in the surrender. The clarity is in the confusion. The direction, in the uncertainty.
You may feel lost on this Mother’s Day. Rest assured, your child is found. Get with someone who is also found; it may be your other children or family. Maybe you know another mother who has lost her child but she is found.
No, the phone call won’t come from that one child but it will come from the others. Yes, there will be an dust on the mantle where the one card would rest but there may be others. And the one hug that you want the most will have to wait. But know this – the wait is worth it. You will want to be found with your baby, your child someday. Someday will be your Mother’s Day. Today, let it go, for tomorrow the two of you will rejoice.
“In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!” (Luke 15:8).
Andy M Davidson, Psy.D. is a Psychologist who lost his son in 2014. He is waiting for his book, When Sunday Smiled to be published. Reach out to follow him at Facebook.com/throughlifeandloss.