Mother’s Day 2022: From The Child Not Here on Mother’s Day

I post this around Mother’s Day every year since my daughter, Fiona, wrote it in the voice of her brother who is in Heaven.

It helps my heart sort the mixed emotions that this day stirs up.

I’m not ONLY a bereaved mother. I’m a mother and grandmother of earthbound children too.

I’m grateful for all of them. So very, very grateful.

My daughter, Fiona, wrote this several years ago, in the voice of her brother who ran ahead to heaven.    

I am so thankful for her and so sorry that she has gained this wisdom at great cost.

Some of the bravest, most loving women I know are those who have suffered one of life’s greatest losses. I hope you know how truly beautiful you are. 

Dear Mom,

Read the rest here: From The Child Not Here on Mother’s Day.

Holidays Can Be Hard-What To Do About Mother’s Day

This will be the ninth Mother’s Day since Dominic ran ahead to Heaven.

Every year has been different because families continue to grow and change and the world turns and life marches on.

Every year presents unique challenges and particular paths that must be navigated anew. It’s always an emotional roller coaster.

The Captain, March 2019

Three years ago our family welcomed a first grandchild. His frightening entrance into the world made his life all the more precious and Mother’s Day gave us a chance to celebrate him, his mama and the fact that his story has a happy ending.

The Captain, April 2020.

In March we welcomed his brother-also a bit early but not nearly as perilous! Once again we give thanks that things have turned out well.

Coming home!! Big brother is so excited.

This year I’ll be a motherless child when the sun rises tomorrow. For the third time in my life, I won’t be able to see or telephone my own mother. Another light and life lost from sight.

Dominic and Mama in Heaven together.

Julian, Dominic, Mama, James Michael & Fiona

Every year my living children work hard to celebrate me even when they are unable to make it home.

I always feel loved.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is fiona-and-brandon-wedding-boys-and-fiona.jpg

So what’s a mama to do when her heart is torn between the very great and beautiful blessings of her living children and grandchildren and the very great and devastating sorrow of missing her child in Heaven?

Since discovering there is an International Bereaved Mother’s Day my heart has taken advantage of having a day to think about and honor Dominic and then another day to think about and honor my living children.

I also rise early enough on Mother’s Day to have time alone with my thoughts and feelings.

I walk my heart through the upcoming hours and “pre-grieve” moments where I’ll be looking for Dom among the faces at the table or around the room. I remember the gift of his life and place it in context of the gift of each of my children.

I thank God for my family.

Thanksgiving years ago, when we were all younger and all here on earth. One of my favorites. 

And then I get up, get dressed and open my heart to the love I have in front of me.

I never, ever want my living children to think that their brother’s ABSENCE is more important or more precious to me than their PRESENCE.

My mama’s heart has room for all of them as it always has.

And as it always will.

Mother’s Day 2022: A Letter to My Living Children

I shared this for the first time five years ago.

Before my mother’s illness and death, before the frighteningly early arrival of our little Captain and the less-frightening and less early arrival of his brother, LT, before an overseas deployment, a destructive hurricane, Covid19, and too many other stressful events to list.

I have watched my kids meet every challenge-sometimes with grace, sometimes with grit, sometimes with both.

They are different people than they would have been if Dominic still walked beside us. They know things their peers can’t even guess.

We all lost so much when we lost Dom. But we still have each other.

And that’s a treasure.

I never thought it possible to love you more than I already did.

But I do.

Your brother’s untimely departure has opened my heart in a whole new way to the glory that is your presence.  It has made me drink you in like water in the desert.

Read the rest here:  A Letter To My Living Children*

Pickles, Jelly Jars and Tears

I first shared this five years ago so it may shock some folks that while I have finally tossed most of the things in my fridge that once belonged to Dominic, I’ve got a giant bottle of hot sauce I’m still using.

Every time I add spicy flavor to chili I think of him.

I’m not looking forward to the day it runs out because it will be one more link dissolved between the living son I knew in the flesh and the memories I have to settle for now.

My parents live in another state so I call each morning just to check in and say hello.

We usually chat about what we have planned for the day, what we did the day before and share any important family updates.

Yesterday my dad mentioned that he had been to the grocery store, came home and when putting away the food he bought decided to clean out his refrigerator.  He joked that he found some things from years ago tucked in the back where they’d been forgotten.

I laughed and said, “Yeah-I did that sometime last summer.”

And then my heart froze as I remembered another fridge I cleaned out three years ago.

I went on to say, “I threw out all the old stuff except what I took out of Dom’s fridge when we cleaned his apartment.”

And then the tears broke loose.

Read the rest here: Jelly Jars, Pickles and Tears

Inside One Grieving Mama’s Thoughts

Ninety miles an hour-that’s how fast my mind can go from here to there.

From what’s in front of me to what’s behind me.

From laughter to swallowing sobs.

We sit in a living room surrounded by toys and playing with children, talking about life and love and plans and people.  The little brown face that turns his eyes to mine looks so much like Dominic I have to suck in my breath.

Giggles.  Squeals.  Cars running up and down my arm and around my feet.

I will never see Dominic’s children. 

Read the rest here: A Peek Inside a Grieving Mother’s Thoughts

Mourning A Lost Future

I read A GRIEF OBSERVED in my 30’s as another in a long list of “Books You Should Read”.  I gleaned a bit here or there that I thought might be of use later on.

But when Dominic ran ahead to heaven, it was the first book on grief I bought for myself and I read it like a starving man set down to a full table.  

This passage, in particular, was helpful in understanding how my absolute trust in the FACT of ultimate redemption of my pain and sorrow did absolutely NOTHING to take away the pain and sorrow-it only made it bearable.

If a mother is mourning not for what she has lost but for what her dead child has lost, it is a comfort to believe that the child has not lost the end for which it was created. And it is a comfort to believe that she herself, in losing her chief or only natural happiness, has not lost a greater thing, that she may still hope to “glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” A comfort to the God-aimed, eternal spirit within her. But not to her motherhood. The specifically maternal happiness must be written off. Never, in any place or time, will she have her son on her knees, or bathe him, or tell him a story, or plan for his future, or see her grandchild.

C. S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

Read the rest here: Wisdom From C.S. Lewis

International Bereaved Mother’s Day-Open Letter to My Fellow Bereaved Moms

Dear Mama,

I know that you never-in your wildest imagination-thought you would need a day set aside for your broken heart and your empty arms.  

Who thinks when they learn a new life is growing inside that this same life might be cut short?  What heart is brave enough to consider the possibility? 

Yet here you are.  

I’m so, so sorry.  

But there are a few things I want you to know. 

Read the rest here: International Bereaved Mother’s Day: An Open Letter to my Fellow Sisters in Loss

International Bereaved Mother’s Day 2022

International Bereaved Mother’s Day is observed the Sunday before Mother’s Day in the United States.  This year it’s tomorrow, May 1, 2022.

I didn’t even know such a day existed until I was a mom that needed it.

For those of us who have children in heaven, setting aside a day to acknowledge that unique mother/child relationship is helpful.

Read the rest here: International Bereaved Mother’s Day

How My Heart Marks the Days

It’s different for every heart.

But each of us who know child loss have a season of grief.

It’s so much more than “just” the day our child left for Heaven.

For me, it starts in November and runs through the end of May-fully half of

every.

single.

year.   

Read the rest here: Season of Grief: How a Heart Marks the Days

You Are Absolutely, Positively Normal!

Do you want to know one of the most repeated questions in grief support groups?  

It is, “Am I normal?”

In the midst of great loss,

in the middle of reconstructing a life that includes a giant hole,

while struggling to place one foot in front of the other,

parents who have buried a child are often worried about whether what they feel and how they act is “normal”.

Grieving a child is a complex and life-long process as I wrote about here: Am I Normal?

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