Being on a grief journey is tricky, to say the least. . In some ways I feel like the dark cloud is lifting. But then, at times out of nowhere it seems, it’s difficult again.
And I’m not sure if it’s my coping mechanism, but sometimes I don't anticipate just how difficult some situations will be.
A few weeks ago, there was an open house at V’s school. The day of the event, she was super excited. Telling me all about the activities we would be doing together that night. How precious.
She and I went to her school and as soon as we arrived, my sadness did too. Almost every family there has a child Violet’s age, and a child Lucy’s age. We ended up leap-frogging a lovely family with a Lucy. So we heard her name, easily 25 times. While I enjoyed seeing V in her daily environment, my mantra was “just get to the car, just get to the car”.
I guess my coping mechanism is working. If I had anticipated that this might be difficult, I may have dreaded going or even avoided it. And I would have missed out on sharing something incredibly special with my daughter. An event that she felt really proud about. And so did I.
Mother’s Day. Similar situation. My oldest daughter is the light of my life, and thankfully, she is here. I can hold her in my arms. My youngest daughter is not. The only Mother’s Day Lucy was with me was before she was born. So Mother’s Day for me is a paradox of joy and pain, gratitude and sadness.
Leading up to Mother’s Day had been fine. I'd say I’d been overall happy when I thought about the day. I’d been busy making plans for gifts for the Mom’s in our lives. And I’d committed to working at the plant nursery for most of the day.
Then the other day I pushed into a 3rd grade classroom as a resource teacher and they were publishing their Mother’s Day poems on laptops. The first (and only) poem I read stopped me in my tracks. I wish I would have taken a photograph, but it was something along the lines of:
Instantly, my eyes filled with tears as my heart sank for this little boy. I know how hard Mother’s Day was for me last year, as an adult, grieving my youngest daughter. How hard is Mother’s Day, and all the days in between, for this little guy and all the other kiddos out there who have lost their mom? Or adults, that have already lost their mothers?
And it made me reflect on a few things. The first was one of the things that I love so much about kids. They have an inherent ability to accept. To accept even the most difficult things in their lives. Most of the time they simply need an answer or clarification, and then they gracefully move on.
And then I remembered how much acceptance helped us to be present and make memories with our family while Lucy was in our arms. We could have denied, ignored, angrily disagreed with doctor's that had devastating news to deliver. Instead, we accepted. And to the best of our ability we enjoyed our precious time with her.
You see when we accept, we free ourselves. We allow ourselves to be present. And even in the most difficult times, we free ourselves to see the silver linings.
So if this little guy, the 3rd grader with the awesome poem, is ready to accept his Mom the way she is and celebrate her on Mother’s Day, I can too with my Lucy. As difficult as it is to not be able to hug and kiss my little Lucy on Mother’s Day, I love her just the way she is. And I still have her big sis here with me to hug and kiss. And I still have my Mom to chat with and remind her how much I love her.
I love Lucy just the way she is. She is the light. She is the soul that taught us how special the ordinary days are. She is the soul that showed us what a great big sister she has. She is the soul that showed us just how tender love is and how strong we really are.
And that big sister has been bringing home cute little Mother’s Day gifts all week. Violet was so proud when she told me she picked the purple tissue paper to wrap my gift because she knows it’s my favorite color. And I just love that. What a gift. And when she says "Happy Mudder's Day", I want to freeze time because her voice is cute and the way she says it is just perfect.
Maybe this is me relying on my coping mechanism. But I'm feeling hopeful about this Mother's Day. I will not overlook or miss out on feeling all the love for both of my daughters and my Mom because of the sadness.
Because I love them all, just the way they are.
Happy Mother’s Day to all Mom’s out there! To those that still have their kiddos with them, and especially to those that don’t because I know how you are feeling. A big hug to those that are missing their own Moms too. And a very special Happy Mother’s Day to my Mom, who has always been there for me and who, thankfully, still is today.
My name is Lou and I am a mom of two girls living outside of Chicago. I never would have imagined this, but our oldest daughter is at home and our youngest is not. She will be in our hearts forever. Lucy was an amazing soul and we continue to learn lessons from her today.