Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Face of a Mother's Grief

I saw you at the store today and you nodded in my direction and hurriedly moved on. It is the same at church on Sunday sometimes..the silence can be awkward. When I see you on the street or at the kids games or the park...you don't know what to say or what to ask. I will tell you the truth if you ask me.
So, be prepared for the answer. And if you really don't want to know, please don't ask-it takes a lot of energy some days to converse. You see, the passing of a year is not a magic number and the hurt does not stop or go away. A mother does not forget even the slightest of details about her child. A mother will always remember..it doesn't matter if you have only had your child a day, a week, a month or years-you know your child like no one else-every inch of them from head to toe. And so, is a mother's love..from the moment we feel them move inside..we become "mother". We love, we protect, we feel and grieve as a mother for our child, no matter how long we have known or loved them. No matter if they have grown up and moved out of our home, married and have children of their own-they are and will forever be, ours.

That's my question today..how do you recognize the face of a grieving mother? Will her face be forever changed by the tears she has shed? Will her smile lines, become grief wrinkles? Do the dark circles under her eyes ever go away? What do you suppose she is thinking, if by chance you glimpse even a brief moment of something other than sorrow? Will you recognize joy should you see it on her face?

I remember the first time I smiled after Shanny passed away. I felt like a criminal. How dare I feel anything even remotely close to "happy."  This was after weeks of moving as if I were in a constant state of numbness. I was unaware of anything or anyone around me and slept about 18 to 20 hours a day for the first 3 weeks. And then there were nights when sleep would not come at all. Those nights were spent lying awake replaying the last few days of Shannon's life over and over again. And then, something beautiful began to happen and the Power of Prayer began to shape the face of this grieving mother. I began to notice I wasn't feeling numb all the time. I could breathe and feel if I allowed myself the freedom to do so. I wasn't as fragile as I thought I was, and I am as strong as I ask God to be. I can face this grief-a mother's grief...if I turn to God for help. And so, I did.

I wept, I prayed, I begged for answers, and I praised God for loving me even though I questioned His
knowledge and His wisdom. I believe in Heaven..I believe in life after death and salvation and the whole nine yards. I am a happy believer who may not understand God's will, but I know that God loves me an has His arms wrapped lovingly around my daughter-His child, who He loaned me for 34 years to love in this world. I know she is happy beyond my understanding and comprehension. I also hurt for her husband and children who  are here, missing their mommy and wife.

This creates quite a struggle for me..I love my baby and I miss her, and yet, I know she is in a far better place-where I hope to be some day. And then, I think of her husband, Jas and his sorrow and the sadness and pain her children go through, and I ask myself..how can you ever feel joyful again? So what, that you hear the song of a bird on a wintry day? So what that the sun shines on the snow and warms the winter air? So what that God has given you another day to live and breathe and share your love with your family...so what?

And I pray...please, Lord..let me turn my face to you..always to you..this face of a mother's grief.
Amen.