Tomorrow I celebrate my mom’s death by shoe shopping. I know, not normal. And a bit weird to celebrate a death.
Here’s the deal, though. I can celebrate my mom’s death because she invested her life in me (and others, of course, I’m not that self centered). It wouldn’t be much of a celebration if I didn’t love her so much, if she didn’t love me so much, and if I wasn’t confident that I will see her again in heaven.
I do believe all of those things though, so I can celebrate.
In these last six years, I have met many women who have lost their moms. It’s a club almost everyone joins eventually, but until you join it, you don’t fully grasp all it means.
The look in the eyes of the women who know my grief brings me tears every single time. I feel like they see my heart and recognize it because it so resembles their own. We usually hug and don’t have to say much. We often cry, hug, and talk a bit our our stories.
I have found some amazing commonalities about losing your mama.
1. We are never ready to lose our mamas. No matter how sick your mom is and you wish the suffering to end, your heart is never fully ready to not have her. It’s just truth. I prayed shortly before my mom’s death (a few days, if I recall.. possibly a week or two) for the LORD to take her because it was clear she was headed for suffering and she was already gone a lot mentally. We were watching her slip away and I feared that she was suffering emotionally and mentally.
Still, when He did take her, I wailed. I was a wreck. I will never forget sitting in the Navigator next to my dear friend Jenna when my sister told me on the phone that Mom was gone. There is a part of your heart that just cracks. I was grateful she wasn’t suffering and wouldn’t waste slowly away, but… I didn’t want her gone.
2. We are never old enough to not have a mama. I was only thirty-seven when I started life without a mom and that felt much, much too young. Truly. Sure, I had five children and one due just months from then, but I didn’t feel old enough to do life without a mother by my side.
I find that everyone feels the same way, no matter the age. Mothers are like light houses for their children and we never fully feel comfortable without them.
3. We never stop missing our mama. My grief was raw the first months, for sure. Yet, even as the months and years grew between my mother and me, the amount that I missed her didn’t change. I still want to ask her questions often. I want to talk to her. I want her to hug me. That just never stops or even decreases.
A dear friend’s mother told me, “Mindy, I lost my mom over thirty years ago and I still miss her tremendously.” When you have a mama who loves you, invests in you, and is your fan, you never, ever stop missing that.
4. We miss our mama even if we weren’t best friends. My mom didn’t understand a lot about me. We weren’t best friends or anything like that. We didn’t click in many ways. None of that kept me or keeps me from bearing pain that was crushing, that became bearable, and now feels like a part of me that will never go away.
None of that keeps me from wishing that I could have just minutes every year to hear her voice again or to see her sweet face. I loved her like crazy and her me, even with our differences.
5. We can’t fill the mama hole in our heart. Some women are blessed with amazing mother in laws or step moms, yet they tell me that those special and beautiful women don’t fill the gap left by a missing mother. They are grateful for the love and realize the gifts they have, but the space left by their mom just stays there. No one can take her place.
I have heard again and again how this is true for everyone I know who has lost their mother. They hesitated to say it because they didn’t want to hurt the other precious women in their lives, but they still believed it to be true.
I don’t mean that God can’t heal and fill a gaping wound with love, mercy, and healing. Oh, He can! I just mean that that space or position in your heart is always for your mama.
6. We appreciate our mom even more after we lose her. It is just true that when we lose something, we appreciate it more. Even if you fully appreciate your mom, that appreciation will multiply after you are on your own in that area. All of the little ways that she blessed you will glow like stars and all of the amazing ways she blessed you will bring you to tears and flood your heart with gratitude.
I have heard again and again from women without their mamas that the depth of their appreciation astounded them and often convicted them. I regret that I didn’t show my mom enough appreciation while I had her and that hurts sometimes.
Still everyone says that the loss makes the love easier to see. In every nook and cranny of your life.
I share this little list with you for a few reasons:
~ I want you to pray for and minister to the friends in your life who have lost their mama. Their pain is there, even if they don’t talk about it.
~ I want you to cherish the time you have with your mama. Connect with her any way you can. Affirm her and tell her how much you appreciate her.
~ I want you to be challenged to do your best, but also give yourself grace if you are a mama. The gift of this job called Mom just can’t be replaced or fully described. Know that your children love you. And always will. You are irreplaceable in their hearts.
All of these truths I’ve watch reflect back in the hearts of women who reach out to me because they are card carrying members of the “I Lost My Mom” club all shout the verse in Romans:
“Weep with those who weep”. Romans 12:15 Women who lose their mamas never stop shedding tears for their loss. The amount changes over time, but the heart… wants a mama.
I have been crying a lot today. Just goes with the territory.
I cry at seemingly random times all during the year when my heart finds some kind of connection to her and her absence in my life. Also goes with the territory.
Still… I’m grateful that I can celebrate tomorrow because I had a mom that loved me. And I loved her.
I will be sharing Monday about ways you can minister to a grieving friend and in the next few weeks another way these truths speak to me. Come back and join in on the conversation.
Have you lost your mama? Have friends who have?