Bereaved Mothers’ Day

Today is Bereaved Mothers’ Day. It is a day set aside to commemorate mothers who have lost a child and is always the Sunday before Mother’s Day. I say commemorate, not celebrate, because there’s nothing celebratory about losing a child. So, why acknowledge it at all? Because, for a mother who has lost a child, or God forbid, her only child or all her children, Mother’s Day can reopen a wound in her heart that never fully heals.

It can be hard for her to share in the joy with her living children or with her own mother when a piece of her life is missing. It’s hard to ignore the ads for flowers, candy, gifts. “Make your reservations early for Mother’s Day brunch!” Churches give out posies to all the mothers and often ask the oldest mother, the newest mother, the mother with the most children (do I count my child in Heaven or not?) . . . to stand, and they are applauded.

Don’t misunderstand, I think celebrating mothers is wonderful. But, life gets complicated when one of your children is no longer here on Earth. Bereaved Mothers’ Day not only acknowledges this, it gives us a chance to prepare for next Sunday’s celebration as well as the sadness, to pre-grieve, so to speak. Often the days leading up to a holiday or milestone date are harder on a griever’s heart than the day itself. If we allow ourselves the time to sort through the emotions, to weep, to remember, then it can be easier to face a hard day.

Granted, other losses can make celebrating hard, especially the loss of a mother. I still miss mine after more than 25 years. But, I hope you will grant me the grace of saying that the loss of a child is like no other. Children are supposed to outlive their parents. Mothers are supposed to grow old and gray and be able to bask in the accomplishments of their children and know that they have left a legacy. Mothers expect to greet their children at Heaven’s gate sometime in the far future, not the other way around. If this doesn’t ring true to you, then I am thankful. Because it means you don’t understand, and I pray you never will. The saddest words a grieving parent can hear from another parent are “me, too.”

So, I hope today is nothing special on your calendar. Just another beautiful spring Sunday. If you haven’t ordered flowers or made reservations yet, do it today. Hey, give the kids a hug for me, will ya?


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