Mother’s Day Manifesto
This is my path. It was not a path of my choice, but it is a path I must walk mindfully with intention. It is a journey through grief that takes time. Every cell in my body aches and longs to be with my beloved child. I may be impatient, distracted, frustrating, and unfocused. I may get angry more easily, or I may seem hopeless. I will shed many, many, many tears. I won’t smile as often as my old self. Smiling hurts now. Most everything hurts some days, even breathing. But please, just sit beside me. Say nothing. Do not offer a cure. Or a pill, or a word, or a potion.
Witness my suffering and don't turn away from me.
Please be gentle with me.
Please, self, be gentle with me, too.
I will not ever "get over it" so please don’t urge me down that path. Even if it seems like I am having a good day, maybe I am even able to smile for a moment, the pain is just beneath the surface of my skin. Some days, I feel paralyzed. My chest has a nearly constant sinking pain and sometimes I feel as if I will explode from the grief. This is affecting me as a woman, a mother, a human being. It affects every aspect of me: spiritually, physically, mentally, and emotionally. I barely recognize myself in the mirror anymore.
Remember that grief is as personal to each individual as a fingerprint. Don't tell me how I should or shouldn’t be doing it or that I should or shouldn’t “feel better by now.” Don't tell me what's right or wrong. I'm doing it my way, in my time. If I am to survive this, I must do what is best for me.
Surviving this means seeing life’s meaning change and evolve. What I knew to be true or absolute or real or fair about the world has been challenged so I'm finding my way, moment-to-moment in this new place. Things that once seemed important to me are barely thoughts any longer. I notice life's suffering more- hungry children, the homeless and the destitute, a mother’s harsh voice toward her young child or by an elderly person struggling with the door. So many things I struggle to understand.
Oh, perhaps as time passes, I will discover new meanings and insights about what my child’s death means to me. Perhaps, one day, when I am very, very old, I will say that time has truly helped to heal my broken heart. But always remember that not a second of any minute of any hour of any day passes when I am not aware of the presence of her absence, no matter how many years lurk over my shoulder.
Love never dies.
So this year, on Mother’s Day, don’t forget that I have another one, another child, whose absence, like the sky, is spread over everything (C.S. Lewis).
Don’t forget to say, “How are you really feeling this Mother’s Day?” Don’t forget that even if I have living children, my heart still aches for the one that is absent—for I am never quite complete without my child. And because love is much, much, much bigger than Death.