Sunday, May 12, 2013

Four Mother's Days

This is what I was doing on Mother's Day morning five years ago. We were staying at a hotel in Waikiki, having a lively breakfast on a deck overlooking the beachfront. All was right with the world. I had all three of my grown children with me and all of my grandchildren, too. Married for 35 years, and blessed with cherished friends, we were all here to celebrate college graduations. We were all healthy and prospering. Life was truly as good as life can be. 

Later that day, Joey and I went for a walk along Waikiki's main street, and he entertained me the whole way.  That boy could make me laugh like nobody's business. I couldn't have been happier.
 Mama Bliss. 

A few short weeks later, my life had turned upside down. My son's ashes had been spread in the sea before me,  and I was myself an ocean of grief. 

I placed his memorial brochure beside the flowers. I wanted those passing by that precious spot to know the magnificent young man the whole world had lost.


Since that day, I have lived through four Mother's Days. The day is still very tender, and I still need to prepare for it emotionally. I know it will never be the same without a hug and a card from my beloved son.

But I have come to realize that this is the nature of life. What is true this year, may not be true next year. Life is ever-changing, it moves swiftly and relentlessly forward, ready or not. I have also come to see that I do not have it the worst. I have two daughters by my side, both beautiful mothers,  and we share the meaning of this day. I have two wonderful sons-in-law, who make me feel special. I have five adorable grandchildren, that keep me rooted in the present and the future, rather than in the past. I am not alone in my grief, as I have other bereaved mom friends, with whom I share the pain and poignancy of this day.  

As I lay out my blessings, I am fully aware of my cherished friend who cannot conceive a child, for whom this day is full of sorrow. I know another mother who has lost the one and only child she will ever have, and with that child, the potential for grandchildren. I know a mother who today is caring for a terminally ill child, and who does not give a second thought to her own breakfast in bed, when she is so busy squeezing all the memories she can from what remains. I know another mother who is experiencing this day for the very first time after the loss of her beloved son, and I know she can barely breathe today. And I know other sad stories of motherhood, that cannot be told here. To all of those beautiful women, I acknowledge your courage and send my love today. You are not forgotten. My heart and prayers are with you. 

And me? I am thankful for the privilege of motherhood, even when I lose, and pretty much under any circumstances at all. 


Anonymous said...

Well said, dear friend. xoxo Sharon

christine said...

Dear words...make me cry...I love you.we live on. Sweet memories.

Crystal said...

Love you....

Janet on Maui said...

I think of you often, always have, miss you, Joe and the ohana. I remember how happy you were those 5 years ago & seeing Joey with you brought a smile to my face & heart. I never imagined I would share your sorrow so intimately. You, Joe & the family are in my prayers today & this month. I am thankful for so many memories & thousands of photos :) Without loving family, friends & unconditional love of Christ I know this journey would be a cold, endless black pit of despair but it's not, there is still joy sprinkled generously throughout this life of unexpected sorrows.
Hugs & love from Maui .....

Anonymous said...

I know such a tough month for you and Joe Karen, regardless of who is around you although, I know He has blessed you with family! God Bless you with His comfort and love,
Much love to you!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for continuing to share memories and teach us who haven't lost a child how you grieve daily. When I'm sad, my throat hurts very badly and my whole body can hardly go on. I try to imagine your sorrow as 10 times that amount and then I hug my kids tight. I don't take one minute for granted and I learned that from you. Your writing and messages from the heart are lessons that I take very seriously. Love you Karen and still holding your heart in mine.


GrahamForeverInMyHeart said...

Thinking of you. Thanks for the beautiful post.

Van Down By The River said...

You amaze me... such loving and thoughtful words. Insightful, courageous, and hopeful - thank you for who you are!

Daisy said...

Always beautiful gracious posts, Karen. I ended up going to read Joey and Rachel's travel blog. Wow, they made me smile more than once.

And at the same time I'm thinking that life is just too flippin' weird. Stops me in my tracks at times. Makes me be still and I hope that the quiet can be a prayer.