Mom. So blessed to have had three girls call me that name. Only three get to say that name to me…..ever. That is how precious and unique that title is. Nana. So blessed that I have had heard five grandchildren call me that name with two more in the wings too young at this blog posting to vocalize my name (Eli and Drew). And still there are two little boys in heaven (Cohen William Diem and Hayes William Dowdy) I will have to wait until I am called home to hear their voice and call my name for the first time. They of course are joined with two more boys, Fischer and Benjamin and my baby girl, Elizabeth. What an amazing chorus of hearing “mom” and “nana” that will be when they welcome me home!
Isn’t it amazing? Out of all the world, I have three daughters that call me Mom. And on this day when we honor being a mother, the day is bittersweet. It is a strange conflict I feel. There is happiness and then there is the unspoken sadness. Tears that are always right below the surface. I am so thrilled to spend time with my eldest daughter Jennifer, my middle daughter Lauren and those sweet nuggets of grandchildren, Eli and Ava. Blessings that I want to soak up every moment.
So, I was thrilled that just us girls (and Eli!) had dinner last night (Saturday) so Lauren could have her mommy day on Sunday, and Jennifer could continue to study for her finals next week. So, with yesterday’s celebration complete, there was today, and I spent it by myself. Some would shudder at the thought, but I find on days like today, there is a peace and blessings in the stillness and quietness of the day. And I enjoy that time. I am free to reflect, cry, pray, sing like crazy and go where my heart leads.
I have developed somewhat of a “ritual” for Mother’s Day. It is common for the bereaved to develop rituals to cope with the loss and get through the day. For me, my day starts at the cemetery. To lay a wreath to honor an amazing mommy of three boys. The wreath I made for Lizz this year is pink flowers. To me, Mother’s Day is always pink flowers! Lizz is represented on the wreath with the bright pink peony and the three boys by the three tulips. I am represented by the “fading” pink hydrangea, representing the generations. The tea cup because one of my fondest memories is a “Mother’s Day Tea” we did one year and one of our last days together was a trip to a tea house.
While I am at the cemetery, I recreate my last Mother’s day with Lizz and drink tea that we bought at the tea house. I drink it out of the mug she gave me for Mother’s Day. I sit on the bench at the Salado cemetery and eat Raisinets (because she filled the mug with Raisinets) and take in the sky, the birds, the fluttering butterflies and the breeze.
I then go to lunch at a place that has special memories for me. This year was Top Notch. The last place we ate together….just her and I. No husbands, no kids. Just Mother and Daughter. I will order the same meal as before. Cheeseburger and Onion Rings. It is these rituals that help me on this day, honor, remember and in some small way feel close once again.
I have learned to lower my expectations for this day. Take it as it comes. Live in the moment. Enjoy my surviving children and grandchildren and honor the ones that are no longer with me in this life. I closed the day, by visiting a bur oak tree in Old Settlers Park that we planted in 2013:
I couldn’t notice how it had already been pruned. Cutting away the useless branches to grow into a strong and tall tree! Sort of like the grief journey!
If you have read this far, I want to close with something that has taken me almost three years to write/say. To many this will not make sense but am prayerful to others it has a heart connection…..
God has blessed me beyond measure to have three amazing girls. He knew I would need to walk this path of loss and separation from one of my daughters and it’s as if my whole life he was preparing me for this. I have come to see that through the immense brokenness of grief and loss, God has so gently been whispering to me, showing me in small ways that it is the brokenness that allows mercy, kindness, grace, humility and an even bigger capacity to love that I couldn’t before. You see, as a momma, out of my pain and loss it has pushed me to love big, to step out and do things I would have never have done. It has called me to love in a way that I couldn’t before. I now have such a tender heart. The smallest of things move me to tears. My heart breaks for families, situations, brokenness in our world. And God whispers to me to look at the cross, and the love that exudes from the brokenness and the pain. And so, in all my frailty and weakness, it is in my brokenness that He beckons me. I so want to be worthy of this important task he has imparted to me……and I pray constantly that I am ready for what lies ahead…….to carry the love and life of my daughter Elizabeth for the rest of my life and all for God’s glory. You see, I know first hand, that life is precious and can be over in the blink of an eye. Therefore, I try (notice I said try….I fail in so many ways) to be intentional…..to live in the moment. Don’t stress over the small things….and in the focus of eternity, they are all small things except the few important things: God, Family, Relationship. Jennifer gave me a bracelet for Mother’s Day this year that says: “You were given this life because you were strong enough to live it”. Wow. Talk about hitting the nail on the head! Lord give me strength!
To close, to take a phrase from Mary Beth Chapman’s blog today, I hope everyone had a HOPEFUL Mother’s Day. For those that found it was difficult to be HAPPY, know that we have a Savior that knows your pain and one day he promises to make EVERYTHING NEW and wipe away our tears! And so today, I am hopeful. Hopeful in that promise of the resurrected Christ.
And even though I have a daughter that isn’t here to call out my name – “mom” on this side of heaven; I wouldn’t trade the 25 years and all the grief of the last three years. I can’t imagine my life without her, Fischer and Benjamin. I am so thankful, grateful, blessed and honored that God thought I was worthy to be “mom” to Jennifer, Lauren and Elizabeth.