“Mother’s arms are made of tenderness and children sleep soundly in them.” ~ Victor Hugo
There are so many things I could say, including several I am sorry’s. Being a mother is hard work. Hindsight being the what it is, I realize now just how much you gave, how strong you were and how deep your wellspring of love must be.
I wish I could remember you before your mother died yet I was just too young. I rest assured that those memories are imprinted in my subconscious. I say this because I know my own experiences with grief
have changed me; emotionally, spiritually and physically. The veil has lifted and the grittiness of the world has been revealed.
However, I am struck that you still loved with all you can and made a happy home for me and my siblings, despite your loss. To the point that I never recognized your grief. I had no idea the level of sadness you must have had to push through. You never made your grief our burden. Something I did not fully realize until I too was grieving and saw what that looked like, felt like and how determined one must be to give their best unconditionally regardless of their own heartache. And yours was double, as you had lost both of your parents before I was out of grade school.
It is futile to measure our grief in an effort to identify who has it worse. You lost your parents and I lost my son. Collectively we stand on both sides of this spectrum of intimate loss. I imagine that it is just as hard to go through Mother’s Day without your mom as it is to do the same without your child. For both of us, someone significant is missing. However, your grief and how you still were the best mother you could be is a gift to me in my time of grief. To be cradled in the arms of grief and not even know it. What I was learning as a child watching you mother your children in the midst of loss was, unbeknownst to me at the time, one of the greatest lessons you would impart on me. As I face life with a side of grief I know that the only reason I am able to still live and love the best I can is because I saw you do it. For that, I thank you.
I do not know of any other way to repay you other than hope my own experience and how I am maneuvering this storm will be of encouragement and life lesson to another. With that in mind, I hope that you can view your own losses with a bit of a silver lining made of hope mingled with sacrifice necessary for the survival of another. I pray that you will always know how grateful I truly am.
You may not always know how much you inspire me and this is just one of the many ways. I will never forget opening my eyes, laying in the same bed my son had just passed away in and seeing you there holding my hand; not saying anything; just being there when I needed you most. When I needed nothing more in this world than my mom.
So today, rather than dwell on the fact that my son is not here with me, I would rather focus on the incredible gift that I still have my mother with me. I still have this gift of life, love and life lessons to embrace. Of which, I would never have had the strength to do without the strength of a mother like you.
I love you. Happy Mother’s Day.
Jen Lynn Arnold