God Wins…but can I ?

A Mother's Journey


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Worth a thousand words

1999 1 ooh baby

Thousands on my cell phone.

Hundreds in boxes.

Dozens and dozens in memory albums.

Pictures.

Pictures of you.

Captured moments in time.

So many smiles.

Some posed.

Some – catching you off guard.

Precious.

Priceless.

Wanting to memorize each one.

It’s hard.

Pictures are a big piece of what I now have.

It’s a way to remember the details of your face.

I can almost hear your voice. Smell you. Feel your touch.

Wishing I had more video.

But grateful for the pictures.

Grateful that I live in a time when it is as easy  – as a tap – to see you.

Healthy, smiling and happy.

Remembering I thought that I took too many pictures.

Now grateful I did.

2012 31 FB leah

And grateful for selfies.

So many times I wanted to  throw your phone out the window.

Attached to your hand, it was such a distraction.

Yet, now grateful for your self portraits.

What a fun, silly, joyful and creative person.

Your pictures show me how you saw the world.

You would have been a great photographer.

It’s true that “the camera doesn’t lie.”

Your personality shines through the lens.

Think I’ll scroll through my phone

and open the storage boxes this long, holiday weekend.

Cherishing the knowledge that your smile isn’t far from my eyes and heart.2005 7 xmas 3

Note: For me, looking at photos is comforting, for some people who lost a loved one, it brings too much pain. Every year my sister took a Christmas family photo of us. We tried to make them fun. This particular year we posed baking cookies. We threw flour at one another. Leah had a blast. This photo wasn’t planned; Leah looked up at the right second. It clearly captures how much fun she was having. It was her favorite family photo shoot. A very memorable day. So grateful for this specific picture.

Encouraging you to take the time to snap some photos of memorable moments, or, if you can, pause and take a moment to open that box you’ve avoided and enjoy photos of your loved one this weekend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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To my friends: Words you won’t hear on Mother’s Day

Hallmark and American Greeting cards understand some things about you.

Poetic words, sprinkled with affirmation and love, tug at your heart.

Cards that paint a picture of the ways that you are a cheerleader, caregiver and coach for your child.

Yet, a few clever words can’t fully define who you are … or your story.

You are so much more.

Although you make it look easy, there are days and seasons when motherhood isn’t filled with family bliss. With unspoken realities, you face heavy challenges.

At times, you feel inadequate, humbled and broken. Tired eyes stare back at you as you look in the mirror – cover up attempts to hide the ever-growing, dark circles.

Rhyming stanzas in a card won’t likely share that you:

  • Hide the the struggle of life as a single mother
  • Suppress the guilt and pain of not only one abortion, but two
  • Control your anger toward protestors who diss the flag your child died serving
  • Advocate for your child with special needs at school
  • Protect your child from negative glances in the store because she is “acting up”
  • Work a stressful job, or two, to make ends meet
  • Carry the heartbreaking loss of multiple miscarriages or stillbirth
  • Avoid addressing the insensitive comment “Are you her ‘real’ mother?”
  • Pray countless prayers that your child will heal from an addiction
  • Serve, or served, your child with a life-threatening illness
  • Sob through heavy tears as you grieve the death of your child
  • Hurt because when your child moved out, he willingly didn’t return and it’s been many months since you’ve seen him

And through it all, dear mother, you hold your head high.

On Mother’s Day, you attend either church, synagogue or another place of worship and then top the day off with a festive Sunday brunch.

When family and friends greet you with “Happy Mother’s Day,” you smile and say thank you. And then, you look away and release a hidden sigh.

“If only they knew the real story,” you think as you anticipate Monday’s challenges. Life isn’t the fairy tale existence you dreamed about as a little girl.

But you dismiss this thought because you’ve never felt a love as this one; it invades every cell of your body. Your spirit is, in some crazy supernatural way, melded to your child’s.

Whatever your child has done, or not done, you forgive …. and your heart is forever his or hers.

Whether alive on earth, or alive in heaven, your sons and daughters have shaped you to be a more sensitive, grace-giving, compassionate, understanding and vibrant person.

That’s the reason when you meet another mother, in a similar circumstance as yourself, no words are needed. Exchanging a glance and smile, you two women connect. You have a small sense of one another’s sacrifice and journey.

You see yourself in her and she sees herself in you.

A Mother.

A woman who teaches the world about unconditional love.

Your child needs you just the way you are – perfectly imperfect. But a reflector of Never Ending Love.

Happy Mother’s Day, my friend.

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Note: My friends have walked a difficult road with me, many of them are moms. This post is dedicated to my mom friends. You have been there and grieved the loss of Leah alongside me. Sitting with me as I cry, or listening to me share over and over the same thoughts and feelings, you say, “I can’t even imagine.” You show compassion and attempt to understand my sorrow.

I’ve also made new friends, mothers who have lost their children. We connect through social media or speak in person. Your comfort and affirmation are priceless. You share encouragement with a knowing tenderness and acceptance. I cherish you and thank all of you wonderful women. I am a better person because of you. God bless you always.