Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The First Mother's Day

   Everyone's making plans for this Sunday, whether they be to take advantage of other's wanting the day off so they can work extra long hours to make the money they need, or to drown their sorrows in alcohol and just get through the day, or actually celebrating with family, but plans they are. But did you know that the FIRST Sunday in May is a special day, too? It's International Bereaved Mother's Day. It's for the mothers who are dealing with the absence of one or more children in their lives, whether it be to death or infertility. Did you know this was last Sunday? Most do not. It's uncomfortable to acknowledge so most will just scroll past the information, skim the article, or ignore or forget altogether because it does not apply to them.
   But it is absolutely perfect that this should come first. While it is excellent and right to appreciate all mothers, it is also excellent and right to acknowledge that there are those among us for whom this traditional Mother's Day is incredibly painful for many reasons. For some it is the absence of child by infertility. For some it is the absence of mother by death, abandonment, abuse, and other pain-filled reasons.  For some it is the absence of child by death. This year I have joined the ranks of that last group. It's a terrible group. I have always had a heavy heart for those who have felt pain on these holidays, but now I know first hand how awful it is, and it means all the more that the world should recognize our pain, because by recognizing our pain they go outside themselves to care for others, and that is huge. For those affected by death it recognizes the existence of the humans in our lives that are now gone. It recognizes struggle, and for some reason having others recognize even for a brief moment the heart-wrenching load you carry every second of the day, that load is made lighter. So THIS Sunday let's go out of our way to, for a brief moment, come alongside those whose pain was acknowledged last Sunday by the few who cared to notice it, and help carry that burden of the heart. Acknowledge the pain of the lack and the loss. You have no idea how that brief moment of discomfort and awkwardness for you may touch a person for whom the pain is constant.
  Several years ago I saw this shared  when it was brand new, and I loved it. It moved me to tears. Now I cry over it for a whole new reason, and even if you read it every year, it will never get old or lose its importance. So every year, please- pastors, teachers, employers, leaders of all kinds- share this. You have no idea how it will touch the people who need to hear it:

To those who gave birth this year to their first child—we celebrate with you
To those who lost a child this year – we mourn with you
To those who are in the trenches with little ones every day and wear the badge of food stains – we appreciate you
To those who experienced loss through miscarriage, failed adoptions, or running away—we mourn with you
To those who walk the hard path of infertility, fraught with pokes, prods, tears, and disappointment – we walk with you. Forgive us when we say foolish things. We don’t mean to make this harder than it is.
To those who are foster moms, mentor moms, and spiritual moms – we need you
To those who have warm and close relationships with your children – we celebrate with you
To those who have disappointment, heart ache, and distance with your children – we sit with you
To those who lost their mothers this year – we grieve with you
To those who experienced abuse at the hands of your own mother – we acknowledge your experience
To those who lived through driving tests, medical tests, and the overall testing of motherhood – we are better for having you in our midst
To those who have aborted children – we remember them and you on this day
To those who are single and long to be married and mothering your own children – we mourn that life has not turned out the way you longed for it to be
To those who step-parent – we walk with you on these complex paths
To those who envisioned lavishing love on grandchildren -yet that dream is not to be, we grieve with you
To those who will have emptier nests in the upcoming year – we grieve and rejoice with you
To those who placed children up for adoption — we commend you for your selflessness and remember how you hold that child in your heart
And to those who are pregnant with new life, both expected and surprising –we anticipate with you
This Mother’s Day, we walk with you. Mothering is not for the faint of heart and we have real warriors in our midst. We remember you.

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