For the first Mother’s Day in fifty-five years, my mother won’t get a card or flowers from my father. She won’t join him at the kitchen table for an early morning coffee, and they won’t watch birds and squirrels run around the yard from the back porch. For the first time, my mother is a widowed mother of four instead of a married mother of four. The story of her life has a loss that wasn’t there last year.
I will do the usual Mother’s Day things this Sunday: send my mother something, call her and my sister to wish them a wonderful day, and spend time with my two sons and husband, Dave. As is our tradition, I will pick dinner and dessert. I will relax while my sons set the table and Dave makes the meal. We will enjoy an hour over good food, and I will open cards and presents. As always, I will be surprised and touched by what each of my sons and my husband chose for me. Later, I’ll say a prayer of thanks for the family I was born into and the one that grew out of my marriage.
Next year, my older son won’t be home from college in time for Mother’s Day. In five years, my younger son may be living too far away to come home for a weekend in May. It will be a new chapter in my life story – something my husband, sons, and I will live into as we turn the page of our current one.
Who knows when, I’ll wake up on Mother’s Day without my husband, or he’ll wake up without me – a first after years of marriage. One of us will grieve and remember the past; the other will already be in the unknown adventure beyond this blessed life.
Love brings joy and it brings grief. New life enters families and so does death. But this I know for certain: there hasn’t been a single day in my mother’s life that she hasn’t been loved. I’ve been loved in every hour of my life. There hasn’t been a single moment in my children’s lives that they weren’t loved. With all the love surrounding each one of us, surely what comes as we journey through death into the cosmic book of life will be blessed beyond understanding.
Blessings for all mothers, blessings for all daughters and sons. Amen.