Revisiting a blog I wrote about six years ago. Wow has the time flown. But, these words still ring so true for me. Raising grieving kids has been one of the most difficult experiences of my life. And yet, I didn't seem to break my kids or ruin them or doom them to a life of despair, somehow we all made our way through the death of our Phil with love, with joy, with the ability to live in his honor.
As Mother's Day approaches, I am dedicating this post to widowed moms, and reminding them that you are enough.
Sports practices, music lessons, school meetings, homework, school projects, dinner every night, getting multiple children to different locations at the same start time, crying for daddy, asking where he went, consoling, advising, figuring out the best solution to the problem when you only have one opinion to consider....any of this sound familiar? The list of the duties of a single, widowed, mom is so long I haven't even scratched the surface here. Not only is the list very long, but there is not another person with whom you can split the list. Remember those days of co-parenting? "You take son here, I will take daughter there. Would you please go into his bedroom...I went in last time he called! What should we do with this problem? What do you mean I am overreacting?!"
Oh, the things I miss about having a parenting partner.
Widowhood has changed me. And yes, that is the understatement of the year. I am not the woman, or the mother, I was 44 months ago. But as my friend Janine shared with us in another post...I am learning to love the new mom I have become. What is new? I realize that life is short. I count the minutes I have with my kids as precious, and I try to be more present. My 17 year-old daughter climbs into bed with me most nights of the week to recap her day. One boy has taken Phil's name as his confirmation name, a tradition of honor in our religion. My other guy hugs tighter, and longer. We eat dinner together often, even when someone gets home late. We discuss death in very real terms. Once in awhile any one of us may remind the group that life is short. We can imagine life without a person we love, because we have lived it. I think that makes us love each other all the more from day to day. We are bonded in a way we weren't before. I can think of one hundred other ways I would have rather learned these lessons, but we didn't have a choice. And there is a lesson in that as well.
So my friends, Happy Mother's Day. Hug your kids and/or your mom, hold close the memories of the moms who have died, find unique ways to honor the lessons your mom taught you or the life lessons that have come to you because of a mom you admire, enjoy the rays of the sun (or the rain drops on your face as the case may be), value the moments you have here on this earth, know that you are not perfect and that imperfection is okay, embrace the woman you are becoming, grasp the lessons of grief as they are the most powerful lessons you will ever learn...but most importantly, congratulate yourself. Each day that we get out of bed and love our children is a successful day. They don't need you to know all the answers; they just need you to hold them tight. YOU are my heroes.
May each mother be richly blessed by her motherhood, and every one of us find value in the blessings that a mother figure has brought to our lives...in whatever form they have come.