Since Mother’s Day is coming up, and the original use of this blog was for “healing”, I decided to take a brief break away from talking about the Italy trip, and post some of my thoughts on how to make amends with your mother after she is gone (if, of course, there is a need to make any amends.)
Making Amends after Mom is Gone
Mother’s Day has been one of the most difficult days of my life for two reasons. Twenty-two years ago I was carrying a 28-week-old son who died in my uterus. I knew he was no longer alive, but my doctor felt it was best for me to wait for spontaneous labor to begin, so…..while I waiting for these two longest weeks of my life to pass, Mother’s Day arrived. I wept, I sorrowed, I grieved, and I wailed to God for allowing this to happen. The Thursday following Mother’s Day, I delivered my baby boy who was forever still.
The Mother’s Day before the loss of my son, I did something that was so out of character for me that I still cannot believe I did it. I totally ignored my mother on Mother’s Day, and I did it knowing that I would hurt her deeply. I was angry with her for her alcohol problem. I was angry with her for destroying her health. I was just plain angry with her! Mostly, I was angry with her for not being the mother I thought she should be, so I foolishly and selfishly made the decision to withhold love from my mother on that particular Mother’s Day. I’ve never been the same since.
Life never gives us everything we want or everything we think we need. My mother had problems dealing with depression. She had serious physical illnesses. And, to top it all off, she was a full-blown alcoholic shedding her misery on others every day of her life. And, I wasn’t happy at all about that. “Why”, I asked myself, “should I buy her a card filled with flattery and tell her things that weren’t true?” “Why should I shower my mother with love when she would probably be far too drunk to even know that I tried to show her that I cared?”
Mom asked for a simple gift that year. She wanted a lawn chair — the inexpensive kind that can be folded and carried any place in the yard. She wanted a $10 lawn chair, and I wouldn’t give her that as a gift because I didn’t feel she deserved it. Talk about having the wrong understanding of love!!! I didn’t acknowledge her at all on Mother’s Day, and forgiving myself has been a long, difficult, tear-filled journey.
Little did I know that my mother would never again see another Mother’s Day. She died 10 months later from complications of the liver brought on by her constant drinking.
God, in His mercy, allowed me to hold my mother’s hand as she drew her final breath, yet I never spoke the words I wanted to say to her. I never said, “Mom, I love you so much and I’m so ashamed of myself for not thanking you for giving me life, for taking care of me when it was so hard for you to even take care of yourself, and mostly of all thank you for pointing me to God.” Instead, I pulled inward and kept that wall between us as she breavely took her final breath. My mother was gone, and I was left with only guilt. Guilt for not being being the daughter I should have been to my mother. Guilt for not acknowledging my mother on her final Mother’s Day on earth. Guilt for not getting her that lawn chair that would have been so easy for me to give to her as a gift.
I have had lots of time to repent, and it has taken me years to finally feel the heavy weight of guilt removed from my heart. I learned an eternal lesson that I want to share with you on this Mother’s Day and every Mother’s Day to come. Please don’t ever deny your mother the gift of love even if you think she doesn’t deserve it. You have been given one mother, and it is both an honor and a privilege to show your mother that you care — even if that love is never reciprocated. Every mother deserves to be hugged, loved, and treated special, and most especially on the day set aside for honoring mothers — Mother’s Day.
I miss my mother, and I have wished thousands of times over that I could tell her what I feel in my heart. I have visited her gravesite and talked with her there. I have written her letters and asked for her forgiveness. I have even bought her a lawn chair! In fact, every year since the death of my mother, I buy one lawn chair and give that chair to someone who might enjoy just sitting in the sunshine for a while.
Life without mother on Mother’s Day is often empty and hollow. Add guilt to that, and it is horrible. Why not do something to remove that awful burden of guilt if you are feeling the same as I did? Do something special for your mother today! Don’t delay. You don’t have to have a special day or a special reason. Just do it! And, if your mother is no longer here, you can easily find another mother who just might need an extra hug, a smile, an “I love you” and maybe even a lawn chair!