To the grieving mom on Mother's Day

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Are you a grieving mom? Are you living that deep pain on this Mother’s Day weekend? The loss of a child is a grief that crushes the soul. On my first Mother’s Day since Andrew’s death, my grief is a huge, heavy weight that is a thousand times bigger than me and is somehow sitting on my heart, threatening to crush my spirit. I feel so small under the weight of it. It’s like I’m a tiny object being tossed around in a raging sea of confusion, loss, sadness, regret, anger, hurt… and emptiness. How could this be happening? How could this be my life? The terrible thing happened.

If you are living that same grief today, dear sister of mine, here are the things I’d like to gently speak into your hurting heart:

I’m so sorry. I get it. You are not alone.
The pain is real, the feelings are valid.
We will get through this.
God sees you. He sees the mom-tears rolling down your face on this Mother’s Day.
Where there is deep pain, God’s hand of knowing reaches even deeper.
God’s immeasurable love extends beyond your immense grief.
The comforting heart of God desires to envelop your sorrow and hold you close.
Even if you can’t feel His love today, it is real.
Even if today’s pain is keeping you from turning toward Him, it’s okay.
He is still with you, He is ever loving you, He feels your pain, and He is patient.

My thoughts often went to Mary this week because she lost her son, too. When Jesus died for the whole world in God’s plan for our salvation, Mary lost her son. My heart has never before been so connected with her pain. She watched her son suffer and die, she was part of the group of women who lovingly prepared his body for burial, she was there in those joyful and yet confusing days when he had risen from the grave, and her eyes witnessed him ascend into heaven. And then Jesus was gone. He was gone. The child she had nurtured, cuddled, guided, encouraged, and with whom she had a mother’s deep soul connection was gone. I think of her pain in a way like never before and it hurts my heart for her. Mary, who was already a widow, had now lost her amazing son, Jesus. Yes, Jesus is the savior of the world, but Jesus is also Mary’s son. When he was gone, she felt the pain and emptiness of losing her child in the same way that we do.

Mary’s tears are mingled with yours and mine. She wasn’t superhuman. She was a mom just like us, left to live with our deep grief. It was hers, too. The empty hole left in her heart at the loss of a child felt exactly like yours and mine. Her mom-grief extended into the days and weeks and months and years until she was reunited with him in heaven.  My heart hurts for Mary in her grief, but there’s also a bit of comfort in the realization that I’m not alone in my mom-grief. There is a sisterhood and if you are part of that sisterhood, my heart hurts for you, too.

Last night I spent time with a group of beautiful, grieving moms. The pain was raw and overwhelming at times, but I also saw the hope for some kind of eventual peace for my hurting heart. I needed to see that. I needed to feel that. And maybe you need to hear that today, too. The mom-pain can be unbelievably deep, but God’s comfort and peace reaches even deeper. Finding peace in this pain is possible!

In the middle of that group of grieving moms last night was a mom who lost her only child 20 years ago. She was grieving with us and yet there was a peace about her that was so confounding to me. It was so real. I told her that I saw deep peace in her. I asked her if it was real. I asked her if she really somehow had managed to find peace with the death of her only child. And she told me that she had. She told me that the peace I saw in her was real. How did she get there? How did that happen? How is that even possible? This amazing woman has had 20 years to practice her peace. She is incredibly mature, she’s daily connected in her relationship with God, and she hasn’t walked this journey alone… but she did find incomprehensible peace in her grief, and I’m very grateful I saw that last night.

While I’m hurting today and tomorrow on Mother’s Day, I’m going to remember the face of that mom I saw last night. I’m so very far from that kind of peace, but I’m going to remind myself that it is possible to get there… to those who make the daily difficult choices to nurture and heal their hearts in God’s Word, in God’s presence, and with other grieving moms, it is possible.

You are not alone in your mother’s heart of pain on this Mother’s Day.  I encourage you to open your heart to God’s deep, abiding, present love and comfort over you. He is right there with you, holding you, enveloping you, hurting with you. And I encourage you to extend your heart towards the sisterhood of women who are also living your same deep grief. You may not have the strength to go there right now. I didn’t either. It was my daughter and another grieving mom friend who made sure I was in that place of nurture last night, and I cried the entire time I was there. The tears were raw and ugly and impossible to control. But there was a tiny dose of comfort in the community of sisters who are living the same grief.

I pray deep comfort into your hurting mom’s heart on this Mother’s Day. And I know it’s possible because God’s Got This…even this.

Carol Stoecklein