What Would You Do, Mom? Grieving a child without your Mother on Mother’s Day.

Surviving child loss without Mom, Mothers day without Mom. What would Mom do?

Last Mothers Day is mostly a non-memory for me. My only recollection is sitting on the back steps of the cabin we were staying at, holding my husband and sobbing on his left shoulder while he talked to his Mom on the phone. I remember stifling my cries and thinking “I know he’s trying to talk to his Mom, but I just can’t stop.” And I couldn’t.  I remember feeling like if I let go of him, I’d sink into the bowels of the earth and never make it out. The sorrow and pain was unhinging me. It was un-Godly every moment of a ‘normal’ day, but Mother’s Day…

So today, this feels like the first real Mother’s Day since….since….( how everything is now measured ) Because I’m coherent, because the protective fog is lifting. Clarity overshadows disorientation and I am facing 2 hard facts this Mother’s Day; 1. My little boy is gone and has left us shrouded in pain and torment. 2. My Mother is here, but also gone. Her mind a tangled mess where the people she loves most, myself included, can no longer be retrieved to her consciousness.  Alzheimers disease.  So she isn’t really here now and hasn’t been since… She doesn’t know of any of this. Whether that’s a curse or a blessing I haven’t decided. It depends on the day. Today it feels like a curse because I’ve needed her, missed her and longed for her care like no other time in my life. There is no other time in any woman’s life quite like this.

The mere sound of her voice, my name spoken through a phone line across the miles would always comfort and mend. The irony is that that is exactly why I couldn’t bear the sound of her voice for months after. To hear that voice would’ve destroyed me further.  To be drawn in by it’s familiar sound, yearning for everything it’s capable of, only to face the reality of it’s hollowness now- devoid of all it’s Motherly perceptivity and healing.

I’m grieving her too because girls need their Mothers and if there were ever a time where a daughter needed the arms and voice of her Mother, it’s during the unimaginable. It’s now.

I don’t want Mother’s Day. I wish it would go away and take everything it used to mean to me away with it. There is no consolation in the “memories” of the joy this day used to bring. The precious hand-made cards and gifts the kids would make at school, walking into church bubbling over with gratefulness that the blessings of the world- everything I ever wanted and prayed for had been bestowed on me in my husband and 3 beautiful boys. I was full. Complete. Full of  joy and purpose. Now Mother’s Day merely shines a light on how empty and wrong things are. A study in contrast of then and since…

But like everything else up to this point, it won’t go away. It will force itself in and demand to be dealt with. Just like Aiden and Mom- no choice in the matter. It just is. So I have found myself asking two questions this week, “How could you God?” and “What would you do if this were your child, Mom?” The former is a question for the ages, but the latter I’ve really needed to know.

The last memory I have of my Mother having any sense of “knowing” was March 9, 2015 in the chaos and upheaval that was unfolding in front of her after we got the news. She knew something was horribly wrong. Her face was contorted in worry and confusion and she wanted to pray. Like all of us, she couldn’t make sense of anything that was happening, but her solution was clear- go to Jesus.

Go to Him. Pray.

In my mind I tell her, “Mom, God is not the kind, loving Father you told me He was. He’s cruel and unfair and he abandoned me. He lied. His promises are empty. He took the most precious thing in my life and in the midst of that he’s taken you too. He’s altered the path of everyone in my family for the rest of our lives. We are broken, in unimaginable pain. He could’ve stopped it and He didn’t. I must endure my life without Aiden and I don’t want to. I don’t want to do this!”

I hear her say, “Honey, God IS love. It’s not what He does or doesn’t do, or what He allows or doesn’t allow, it is who He is. He can’t lie and He hasn’t left you or abandoned you. He is there, with you, crying beside you. I’m angry too and He bloody well have some answers when I meet Him face to face. But it doesn’t change who I know Him to be.  We are not immune to the evil and cruelty of life. Look at me! He didn’t promise a life free of struggle and pain, He promised to be with you through it. He promised you would have the tools to persevere-Him, His word and His Holy spirit, and you do. You do Jen.”

“I don’t want to do this Mom. I don’t want to live without Aiden.”

“Jen you have a husband and 2 sons who love you and need you. Your work here is not done. You will live and you will live strong and well for them. They may need to look at your life for guidance some day and they will see a Mother who loved them enough to keep going when she wanted to die. They will see a Mother who is fighting Hell itself, but has grabbed her family with both arms and is holding on for dear life to keep them OK. You will do it for them and Jesus will be with you every awful step of the way. Someday those boys will hold their own child, and at that moment they will know what you did for them, what you endured because of your enduring love for them.

And Jen, can’t you see what you’ve done already?”

No. All I can see is what is still in front of me and I’m tired and it hurts all the time.

“You’re like me Jen, you’re a fighter. You won’t let the injustice of this take one more thing from you. We don’t take anything sitting down and you haven’t. You are persevering. You have the very grace of God, His strength and the hope of eternity with Him and Aiden in you! The hope you have always known is in you somewhere, Jen. It’s buried in pain and confusion right now, but it’s there- don’t lose sight of that. Find it and let it propel you forward. Let it propel you to Jesus, not away from Him. Eternity is in His hands. Eternity with Aiden is in Him. I wish I could fix this, I wish I could take your pain, but I can’t.”

I need you Mom.

“I can’t be there for you Jen. But someone much more capable than I am is there with you. ”

“Go to Him. Pray.”

My answer. Her words as I’m sure they would be, transcending earthly disease and earthly suffering to point me Home.

I love you, Mom. Happy Mother’s Day.




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About Jennifer

I am a mother first and foremost. I am also a mother who lost a child, suddenly and tragically. Like other bereaved Mothers, I am trying to find my way back, and writing and creativity is a huge part of that. I hope by documenting my climb out of this, that my walk, my struggles, my failings, my faith, my honesty, and my choice to live-in every sense of the word, will help someone else do the same.

5 Responses to What Would You Do, Mom? Grieving a child without your Mother on Mother’s Day.

  1. Mary says:

    The words you have spoken as if it were your mother’s words are so true, and so beautiful. Those words are her’s and now yours. She has given you the most amazing gift, and that is the knowledge and strength of Jesus. You have them in your heart and she has placed them there. Even if she is not physically/mentally with you, she has forever given you something no one can take away. That is what we do for our children. And you have done the same for your boys. You are such an incredible mother and your boys are so fortunate to have the kind of love you give them, that love that will never fade but will continue to grow and be strengthened in the midst of heartbreak. Always wishing I were closer to you so that I could stop in and just be with you. You are doing a great work here, and after the tears have stopped rolling down my cheeks, I walk away from the screen and leave encouraged. Love you so very much.
    “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” Phil.4:9

    • Jennifer says:

      Thank you Mary, I love that scripture. I wish I fully owned my Mother’s words, but I don’t. It is a constant battle. She spoke to me through the writing of this, I just hope they take hold in my heart. Love you too. Thanks for stopping in. =)

  2. Susan S says:

    Very powerful. Sending you prayers for comfort and peace. ???

  3. hissince76 says:

    From the very moment we heard about Aiden we have been praying for you. We left flowers and cards in your driveway along with many others and sent you a FB message, that life-altering day, just to let you know we care. I have read every blog you have written and stared into the face of your sweet boy with every picture you have posted. Some blogs have made me want to run to the bathroom & throw up, just imagining your grief. Others have left me staring into space, unable to even comprehend your shattered heart. But all have made me want to come to your house & sit on the floor and just weep with you. For what was, what is & what can never be. I confess that when I get an email notifying me of a new blog, my first thought is, “I can’t.” But then I do. And then I pray…for you, for your husband, for your boys. I know you need this…to write, to remember, to keep Aiden’s memory alive…always. I also notice that people rarely comment on your blogs. For me, it’s that I don’t know what to say. You are living the actualization of every mother’s nightmare. You are walking a path I can’t even begin to understand so how dare I ‘reply’ to your posts? What do I say? What CAN I say??? So I just quietly slip in, read your newest blog, wipe away my silent tears & (like a coward) tiptoe back out.
    Today I wanted to stand up & say that I’m here. I’m reading, I’m remembering, I’m crying, I’m praying & I’m caring. And honestly, I think there are a lot of us in here. We just haven’t known what to say or how to say it. But we’re all here. And I just wanted you to know that 🙂 Oh…& that you are one of the bravest women I have ever known.
    Your neighbor,
    Naomi Draper

    • Jennifer says:

      Naomi, I think I am the one who doesn’t know what to say now. Thank you for your words today. They mean more than you will ever know. Most days I feel like I blog to myself and a very few friends and family who have subscribed and if that is the case, it’s OK. I’m good with that. I hope it touches hearts and grieving mammas and family and friends of grieving mammas so they can somehow look into this world. If it has caused you to pray for my family then that alone is worth every bit of trepidation and exposure I feel when I hit the “publish” button. Thank you so so much for your prayers. We need them so much. Thank you for letting me know you are here. You have made my day, truly.

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