“Happy” Mother’s Day?

As I write this, I have just settled in after a long day of being celebrated as a mother. Surrounded by flowers and cards, I cannot help but wonder is it really a “happy” Mother’s Day? I’ve just come out of a season that wasn’t happy at all, I had a child that left us too soon. My own grief aside, what about other mothers whose babies left them too soon as well? Those of us with empty arms and empty cradles may find this holiday to be anything but happy. To some, Mother’s Day is a sad reminder of loss. In spite of the morbid reality that is life and death, the truth is hope and joy can exist in the midst of grieving. Joy in the midst of grieving? Is that possible? I’m here to tell you, it is.

Is it possible to have a "happy" Mother's Day when you're grieving? See into the heart of a grieving mom and learn about how to find joy in the midst of grief. | @GiftsWeUse {to grow, love and serve}

My reality is…

It had been seven short months since the dreams of growing our family were dashed. Instead of worrying about feedings and diaper changes, I am busied by school lunches and clocking in and out. You may see me with a smile on my face, but every once in a while, tears roll down my cheeks. My reality is, I’m still walking through waves of grief {and my family is too}.

In the days leading up to this Mother’s Day, my son reopened questions about his sister in heaven. It had been months since we’ve talked about Selah, but our son was looking for his sister who wasn’t coming home. We were left to walk our almost 5-year-old down the road of loss once again. Our reality is that though time heals in some ways, it doesn’t necessarily get easier.

 

The truth is…

I could very well dwell in the loss of our daughter, but I continue to live life as best I can. Being engaged in the here and now keeps me from sulking in the pit. Because I’ve kept the here and now at the forefront, I had all but forgotten that I have reason to be depressed…until this week leading up to Mother’s Day.

While affirming a woman in the mom support group I served in at church, she pointed out something that I hadn’t noticed about myself. She reminded me that this year has not been happy or easy for me. More importantly, she highlighted the fact that despite it all, she saw me exhibit joy. This touched me in a very profound way. Here I was trying to affirm this wonderful woman, and she turned around and affirmed me. I guess that’s what makes her so wonderful.

 

Where joy is…

What that sweet lady said to me made me think, how do we find joy when grief seems to loom? Sometimes, I think the enemy wants to guilt us into thinking that we shouldn’t feel joy when something so precious to us has been snatched out of our hands. I want to tell you grieving mothers out there that you can find joy while grieving, and that’s okay.

Joy is found when I hear my son laugh uncontrollably.

Joy is found when my husband understands my grief.

Joy is found when I get the privilege to speak into the lives of other mothers, grieving or not.

Joy is found where I see past this season of loss, when I can see a bit more clearly into Heaven because someone close to me waits for me there.

Best of all, the joy of the LORD is my strength. He is the reason I have hope and joy.

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Living by faith, not by sight, pulls joy out of a not-so-easy day. It’s not my church or my religion, but my relationship with God that gets me up in the morning and God’s Word {the Bible} is how joy is expressed through grief without even trying.

When I think that I might drown in another wave of grief, someone comes along to show me that I’m paddling along just fine {or even better than I thought}. This is the gift of community, joy is found here as well. Letting others in and letting ourselves grieve out loud {instead of in silence} keeps us authentic, and unknowingly helps others carry on in hard times as well.

At the end of the day, this Mother’s day {and every other day} can be happy if we allow it to be. I walk on in faith, hope, community, and sometimes grief. If you’re walking down the same road, you are not alone.

How was your Mother’s Day? Feel free to share honestly. This is a safe place.

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Ferly is a wife, mom, and blogger. She helps overwhelmed moms organize the most time-consuming areas of life so they can spend time doing what’s important.

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6 Comments

  1. What a beautiful, encouraging post! I am so very sorry for your terrible loss. I often think of how difficult Mother's Day must be for those who have lost a child. It is wonderful that you and your husband are being open about your grief with your son and that you son is still seeing you share joy as well. Thank you for sharing your experience so openly and honestly. I know it will help so many others to know they are not alone.

    1. Thank you for your kind words April. My hope in sharing is to encourage those affected by lost (directly or indirectly). Your words have blessed me.

  2. I am so sorry for your loss. I can't imagine and truthfully I'm not sure what to say. Saying sorry never seems like enough but trying to say too much when you have NO IDEA how it feels to be going through something like that can leave you with your foot in your mouth and feeling horrified because of it easily. But I am truly sorry for your loss and am glad that you are finding a way to look for happy & joy. :)
    My recent post Summer of the Smoothie

    1. It can be difficult to find the words to say to someone going through a loss you may not be able to relate to. You did just fine. Often "sorry" and simply being present to listen is enough. Thank you for commenting even when you don't know what to say.

  3. ferly, you know that i miscarried on mother's day last year and that i gave birth on mother's day this year. irony, fate, the circle of life…i don't know how to characterize it. for the past year, i grieved and feared that i would never hold my own child in my arms. even after i birthed my my baby after two miscarriages, i still thought he could be taken away at any moment. when he came out and the nurse said, "we need to resuscitate him now!" i thought motherhood would never be my destiny. and now there is immense joy and so much appreciation. every day i cry tears of happiness, i can't believe i have a child.

    all that said, i want others to know that it's not just about birthing your own child, but how we all mother ourselves, each other, our family and friends. mother's day is so much more universal than what we believe it to be.

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