A Mother’s Love: Wisdom from Wendell Berry

There are many reasons I love Wendell Berry’s writings. 

He is committed to living gently among people he loves and caring for the earth that sustains our lives even if we won’t admit it. 

He is unafraid to speak uncomfortable truth.

But mostly I love his poetry. 

I could share dozens of pieces that have touched my heart and made me cry but today, in honor of mamas everywhere, I choose this one.

Read it slowly.  Savor it like fine wine or good chocolate. 

Let it sink in where it can do you good.  

To My Mother
by Wendell Berry
I was your rebellious son,
do you remember? Sometimes
I wonder if you do remember,
so complete has your forgiveness been.
So complete has your forgiveness been
I wonder sometimes if it did not
precede my wrong, and I erred,
safe found, within your love,
prepared ahead of me, the way home,
or my bed at night, so that almost
I should forgive you, who perhaps
foresaw the worst that I might do,
and forgave before I could act,
causing me to smile now, looking back,
to see how paltry was my worst,
compared to your forgiveness of it
already given. And this, then,
is the vision of that Heaven of which
we have heard, where those who love
each other have forgiven each other,
where, for that, the leaves are green,
the light a music in the air,
and all is unentangled,
and all is undismayed.

I believe that a child’s first taste of gospel freedom is found in a mother’s unconditional love.

“causing me to smile now, looking back, to see how paltry was my worst, compared to your forgiveness of it….”


as far as the east is from the west

Mother’s Day 2018: A Letter to My Living Children

I wanted to do a version 2.0 of this post but felt like I couldn’t really add much to what I’ve already written.

So here it is again-a letter to the children still walking planet Earth with me.

You are every bit as important and loved as your brother that is waiting for us in Heaven.

I love you.

You are my breath, my life, my heart walking outside my body.  ❤

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

But I do.

photo (20)

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*

From The Child Not Here on Mother’s Day

My daughter, Fiona, wrote this last year, 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,

I know most days your eyes are misty with tears, your mind full of questions, your voice quieted, your heart broken by the pain of living without me.

There are only two ways to gain a child: birth or adoption.

But nobody and nothing in this world prepares you for the harsh reality that there are countless ways to lose one.

I can’t dry your eyes or answer your questions; strengthen your voice or fix your broken heart. But today, the day you stand with empty arms or a few empty chairs while others’ hearts and homes are full, I want to remind you of a few things:

It is not your fault.

You are a great mom.

It’s OK to wish for more time.

Broken crayons still color and the world needs your tear-washed rainbows to remind them that stormy clouds are not the end of the story.

I’ll see you soon.


The One Not Sitting at Your Table”

because i have known despair

Bereaved Moms and Mother’s Day Celebrations

It was only last year that I found out there was such a thing as International Bereaved Mother’s Day celebrated on the first Sunday in May.

I hope that my fellow sisters-in-loss took advantage of that opportunity to think about and honor the child or children that won’t be here to celebrate Mother’s Day this Sunday.

Even if you did, it’s not going to be much easier to face a day full of “Happy Mother’s Day!” greetings when your heart may feel anything BUT happy.

Thankful for the opportunity to be a mother-yes.  Thankful for children still here on earth with me-yes.  Thankful that God has given me the strength to carry on in the face of unimaginable pain and loss-yes.

But “happy”probably not.

So if your heart is a heavy looking toward tomorrow, I hope this post helps a little. 

It’s OK to not be OK.  

Read the rest here:  Mother’s Day as a Bereaved Mother


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

Dear Mama,

I know that you never-in your wildest imagination-thought that 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.  There are some important truths to remember on this broken road-truths that can help you hold onto hope and finish strong.

You are not a failure.  I don’t care about those silly social media memes that are tossed around like candy from a Mardi Gras float.  You kept your baby or your child as safe as you knew how.  You are not omnipotent nor omniscient.  You did the best you could.  That’s all ANYONE can do.

no way to be a perfect mother child in arms

You are a mother even if you don’t have a single child to hold on earth. You have a child-just not one that others can see.  When people ask how many children you have, answer boldly and count the one (or more!) that wait for you in eternity.

love she holds in her heart

Your love is valid and worthy of expression.  Love for your missing child may look different than love for a child still walking the earth with you.  That’s OK.  Grief is love with no place to go.  Tears are fine.  Laughter is fine.  Speaking his name is your privilege.  Carrying her legacy is your honor.  No one gets to tell you how or when to express your heart.

mothers grow love intl bereaved mothers day

You are brave.  Bereaved mothers are not the only brave ones on this planet but they are some of the bravest ones I know.  You have received the heaviest blow a mama’s heart can know and you are still standing.  You get up every day and carry on.  You continue to love the people in your life and serve your family.  You have not given up although giving up would be the easiest thing to do.  Don’t discount your own courage.

You are strong-not because you want to be but because you have to be.  Other people depend on you and you are trying your best not to let them down.  It’s no compliment when someone says, “I just wouldn’t be able to survive.”  Because, really-what choice do we have? We bear up under the burden because the alternative is to further burden our families.

you are amazing strong and brave

You are beautiful.  Every time you look in the mirror and notice the circles under your eyes or the lines around your mouth, don’t think that makes you ugly.  They are scars-scars of love and sacrifice.  They bear witness to the fact that you choose to carry on and carry your child’s legacy even though it costs every ounce of energy and will you can muster.  You may not like the way you look in pictures, but trust me, you are beautiful.

beautiful mother bereaved moms day

You are a living legacy for your missing child.  You carry his light.  You honor her memory.  You keep it fresh and alive and present and refuse to let others forget or ignore it.

ill be your legacyYou have a story to tell so tell it.  Your story may be the key to unlock another mom’s prison.  We cannot do this alone.  We need one another.  Don’t let fear of being dismissed or misunderstood silence you.  Speak up.  Stand out.  Shout your truth for others to hear.


This day is for YOU.

It is set aside for all the mothers who love a child they can no longer hold. 

Observe it however is meaningful and healing for YOU. 

There’s no right way or wrong way to grieve.  

grief as timeless as love


International Bereaved Mother’s Day 2018

International Bereaved Mother’s Day is observed the Sunday before Mother’s Day in the United States.  This year it’s tomorrow, May 6, 2018.

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

Read the rest here:  International Bereaved Mother’s Day

Repost: A Letter to My Living Children

I miss Dominic.  I will always miss him.  Our table will never be full no matter how many others come to sit round its edges.

BUT-I will not rob my living children of my heart because part of it lives in Heaven.

I wrote this for the three children that still walk the earth with me.

You made me a mother, along with Dominic, and I celebrate each one of you as a gift from God.

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