Navigating the weight of Mother’s Day

The heaviness felt on this day is challenging for those who have lost a child or a mother.

It doesn’t seem possible that this marks the tenth Mother’s Day without my son David. This blog was originally published in 2017. I modified it a bit, but it still speaks to my heart. I hope it speaks to your as well.

The commercials started a couple of weeks ago. Facebook will soon be inundated with celebratory pics and that’s the way it should be. So how can we navigate our hearts to celebrate with others while also carrying the deep weight of our loss?

This is a question we’re faced with all the time isn’t it? Life goes on and we need to keep up, but it requires balancing our pain in the process. Does it ever go away?

In the movie Rabbit Hole, Nicole Kidman’s character tragically loses her son. She is inconsolable, consumed by grief. It begins to affect her marriage and every other aspect of her life. Her mother also knows what it’s like to lose a child. Her brother died eleven years ago, and she begins to wonder how she was able to manage during such a devastating time. She asks the same question, “Does it ever go away?” Her mother describes it this way…

“No. I don’t think it does. But it changes though…the weight of it. At some point it becomes bearable.  It turns into something that you can crawl out from under and… carry around like a brick in your pocket. And you… you even forget it, for a while. But then you reach in for whatever reason and – there it is. Oh right, that. Which could be awful – not all the time. It’s kinda…not that you’d like it exactly, but it’s what you’ve got instead of your son. So, you carry it around… and it doesn’t go away. Which is fine, actually…”

I’m not sure if the screenwriter intentionally based this response from personal experience, but it sure makes sense to me. I can totally relate. Can you? Fictional or not, it’s a great word picture.

Mother’s Day will look different for everyone. For me, I will acknowledge the heaviness of the day. I’ll grab the oversized card David gave me ten years ago, a month before he died. I’ll read and re-read it. I was loved. He is missed. I am grateful for the precious time I had with David. He is forever in my heart. Tears and prayers will follow.

I will cherish the day. I’ll relax my grip on the brick in my pocket and embrace the joy right in front of me; spending the day with my husband, parents, my son Daniel and his wife-to-be, Savannah. (I’m also hoping there will be some sort of cake!)

And finally, to officially mark the end of the day, a private moment at the cemetery. The routine is always the same; make sure the flowers in the Green Bay Packer vases are upright and secure, brush away any grass on or around the base of the stone, soak in David’s smile from his photo etched on the black granite… and look for deer along the nearby treeline. I always look for deer. Tears and prayers will follow.

Oddly enough, tears of thanksgiving and praise will follow as well. They always do. On this special day for Mothers, the gravitational force from the brick in my pocket becomes perfectly balanced, as I simultaneously give thanks for both my boys. I like that. There is always room for giving thanks. What better way to spend Mother’s Day?

Oh, and don’t forget, it’s important for you allow others to celebrate you this Mother’s Day. The bitter and the sweet meet here, but you are so loved. You got this. You can multitask. You are all on my heart today. Have a wonderful Mother’s Day!

Dear Friend,

As Mother’s Day approaches, take time for yourself to acknowledge whatever you’re feeling. (I know you already feel it coming!) Please don’t ignore it. Reflect with sweet remembrance of your mother, son or daughter. I’m praying what follows will shift your focus from the brick in your pocket toward the joy of the day, as you celebrate with the people you love and who love you. God bless you.