A Letter to the Mother I Never Wanted to Be

We mothers will never forget those precious moments when we held our children in our arms for the very first time. We cuddled our babies, sniffing these little miracles swaddled in blankets as we stared in awe of what we have just experienced.  Overflowing with unconditional love for our children, our hearts are forever changed. We would instantly sacrifice our own lives for these blessings from above. Our minds are etched with memories that eternally transform us from the inside out.

To be a mother. The most difficult job on earth but the most rewarding.  A job we fantasized about as children ourselves, never imagining the possibility of how a little being would change our lives, never once considering life without our children as we are caught up in explicit joy, when life couldn’t be more perfect.  We map out all of our children’s milestones and birthdays, planning for a successful and blissful future, down to the last detail.

Then suddenly without warning the day comes when circumstance out of our control happen and our child’s time here is over, forcing us to say goodbye. What? No one tells you this is even a possibility when your child is born.  Would that alter our perspective on wanting to be mothers? Would the pain be too much to bear, diverting us from embarking on such a journey?  Possibly.

Yet, no matter how long our children stay with us on earth, we are mothers forever and our souls are permanently changed.

We often lose ourselves as we are submerged in deep grief.  The connection with our souls and outside world is severed and we board the unpredictable emotional roller coaster for the rest of our lives.  We regulate the bundle of tears that lies just beneath the surface, waiting to flow when we are pierced with moments of sorrow.

We are unrecognizable from the mothers we used to be. We struggle to find ourselves in our new, and unfathomable journey, wondering why this had to happen to us.

Who are we? Honestly, I’m not sure. We know we are still mothers, however, we have become mothers we never wanted to be.  Mothers, who if honest would tell you the last time we cried was in the darkness of night just a few hours earlier.  A mother who keeps silent the internal struggles she faces as the sun rises every day knowing her child is not in her arms.

We long to remember how it physically felt to hold our children and their unique sweet scent we would give anything to smell again.

We retreat from the activities and events of others with children the same age, ridden with secret jealousy as we hide from the realization that our children will never get to experience such wonderful times.

Our Saturday nights turn from dinners with friends and social engagements to sitting in our pajamas wrapped in blankets on our beds frantically searching for online support, desperate to share our children and find someone who can be with us in our moment.

We madly try to erase those vivid images of our children’s last moments, those casket bearing pictures of unbelievable traumas that couldn’t possibly have been real.

We are mothers who have lost their motivation for life, who have become self-critics rehashing everything they should have done differently, obsessed in guilt.  Mothers who are vulnerable and afraid of the future.

This was the mom I was in my early years of grief.

Yet after ten years, she’s not afraid anymore.  She has grown in ways she never believed possible, living outside her comfort zone for so long.  How was it possible to live so long as a bereaved mother when we could barely breathe, believing we would never make it one day, let alone months or years?

There is no hiding our true self. We have less tolerance for the mundane and superficial things in life. We learn to be honest with ourselves opening our eyes to the beauty of being alive and the capacity to love unconditionally as we’ve known devastating loss.

We are talented and inherently blessed as we balance life in two worlds, embracing the pain of our past, while carrying our children with us into this uncertain future.  Bereaved mothers think of their children first thing in the morning and before their eyes close at night.

We walk blindly in faith, one day at a time, clinging to one another and the only hope we can find. We are lead on a destination of self-discovery and purpose, evaluating where we’ve been and where we are going, tossing aside our imperfections. Knowing the value of each breath, we navigate through the intricate weave of life’s delicate threads possessing heavy wisdom beyond anything imaginable. In due time, we will come to a place again of self- love and happiness.

We get it. Loss has ignited a passion for life a place to thrive while we’re waiting to for that ultimate reunion. We strive boldly to honor our loved ones while bursting with compassion and a vigorous drive to serve others.

The strength of a grieving mother is enormous.  As we unite, we create a place where life is real and pain is palpable, yet hope and faith dominate. Differences are washed away and we are transformed into super heroes without even being aware.  God holds us up.

United in loss, stronger together. We can do this.

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Finding Strength During Loss

As I was going through things recently and finding little bits of the past and pieces of hope along the way, I found some I wanted to share.

Today I’m sharing another journal entry I recently found from January 2011. Three years had gone by since Lydia died.

 Last night I got to hold you and hug you in my dreams. It was so real, so wonderful.  I had a dream that you were at daycare and your Nana had kept it a secret from and she took you there.  I went there and saw you through the window.  I ran into the house and gave you the biggest hug and kiss. You were just like normal, nothing had changed. You had shoulder length beautiful blonde hair in a new modern cut and the same sweet smile.  We took you home and had bunk beds for you and your brother and you loved them. Oh I miss you so much.  It still hurts so badly.  I love you.  I wish I could have stayed in that dream forever…I can’t believe you are 8 years old now.  It just seems like yesterday when you were born.  I am so thankful that I got to know you and spend five and ½ wonderful years with you.  You changed my life.   

It still is painful to read my words from so long ago as it only takes a second to be transformed back to that time and relive the past.  However, a few months after Lydia died I was fortunate to find a one of a kind drawing she had made me. One I had never seen before and like no other..the moon and the stars…eternity maybe?  I see it as just this..the beauty of eternity…Amidst the moon and stars, there are bright sparkles in the darkness we must find and celebrate..So beautiful.

lydiastarsfinal

I awoke this morning and my first thoughts were exactly this..”I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  What a fabulous way to wake up, giving me that boost of confidence needed to face the day!

Life is challenging enough and when you add the burden of a grieving heart in the mix, life can get down right impossible.

Strength.  What my theme this week is about.  We all need strength to survive the impossible.  We must reach out for help and grasp those external supports available to assist us and hold us up during our times of need.  Whether it be a friend, pastor, counselor, support group, or just an intimate encounter with you and God, utilizing the listening ear and leaning on the shoulders of others is essential so we don’t have to face the many difficulties by ourselves.

Many hugs to all you grieving hearts….. Remember, although it may not feel like it at times, you are not alone and God gives you all the strength you need.