It wasn’t until I got into the car and that I realized I may have had an audience….
To the mom across the parking lot staring at us………
You saw me yelling and pretty much screaming at my stubborn children who wouldn’t obey as we got into the car. You heard them crying and throwing tantrums and cast me the evil eye as you scrutinized from a distance.
Sometimes I can’t help it as my stress level builds and erupts as it seems like I can’t compete with this world. There’s so much more than those brief seconds you observed. You don’t know the whole story, yet you judge anyway.
You don’t know that my oldest child died at the age of five.
You don’t know that my grandmother, the glue to our family was just given weeks to live because her body is being eaten alive by a raging cancer…
You don’t know how difficult it is to parent your surviving children after one has passed away. It is the most difficult thing I have ever done. While part of yourself is in heaven with your child, your other self remains here on earth with the other children and me, the bereaved mother is stuck in between two worlds, floundering non-stop unsure of how to feel, act and navigate this new life.
I admit, I don’t have all the answers and at times I don’t know what to do, and as a result my grief comes uncorked.
I wish there was a guide book.
Day in and day out and am reminded by a casual glance at the vivid scar that lingers on my arm, bringing to my attention, the reality that one of my children is not here.
I love my children with all of my heart. But at times, they do push my buttons sending me into a total meltdown. The demands of caring for four young children is exhausting. At times, I cry and crumble into a thousand pieces because I get overwhelmed. And then during my purging, my mind is instantly taken back to my sweet daughter in heaven who I miss terribly causing my heart to rip open exposing the raw flesh of grief that lies just beneath the surface. It only takes a tiny scrape to reveal those emotions.
Most days I do just fine, but certainly there are those that challenge me. In reference to my grief, I am a “stuffer.” I stuff my grief in a place so remote that it’s only accessible when I make the conscious decision to pull it out when I want to feel it. However, some days I am repeatedly reminded of what I have lost and absorbed in the loneliness, the guilt, the emptiness and heartbreak.
And for a while, I remain in my moment of self-pity and sorrow. And that’s okay. I need to experience those feelings to make me realize again how fragile life is and to understand how that sneaky devil makes me come unglued and attempts to cement those ugly thoughts in my mind time and time again.
To the mother in the parking lot, I’m sorry you saw my bubble burst. But what you don’t see also is the joyful moments of playtime, the laughter, the bedtime stories, the silliness, the hugs and kisses, the I’m sorry’s, the I love you’s, the building of self-esteem, values and appreciation for family and life.
You see, the good times far outweigh the bad. I am human and broken. I don’t expect you to understand… but just realize that everyone has a story and a struggle.
I am not perfect. I am a mother, a grieving mother and will be for the rest of my life. That’s a tough pill to swallow for sure. Yet, I try to be the best mother I could possibly be for my kids here on earth.
After the chaos dissipates, I take a deep breath and silently give thanks for the love of Christ and all the blessings he has bestowed upon me. His mercy, his grace, his strength, his love, his forgiveness and the gift of salvation. And then I hand it all over to him and recognize that God’s got this.