Mother’s Day {When Your Mom Isn’t Here}

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Mom & Me in 1995

Mom & Me in 1995

**Fair warning:  I couldn’t make it through writing this post without some tears, so this is your chance to walk (or run) away if you don’t feel like getting misty today!**

This is for those of you who will wear a white carnation today, instead of a red one.

First, I’d like to wish all of you who are mothers a very Happy Mother’s Day.  What an amazing, excruciating, wonderful, exhausting job!  I wouldn’t trade my kids for the world, but there are a lot of days when you can take my job (mothering) and shove it!  I salute each and every one of you, from one battle buddy to another.

I'm pretty sure my mom is wearing false eyelashes to give me a bath--she has me beat in the glamour department!

I’m pretty sure my mom is wearing false eyelashes to give me a bath–standards were clearly much higher in the ’70’s!

 

Of course, we all have mothers, too, and this day is also about them.  But that’s not always as simple as it sounds, is it?  For some of us, Mother’s Day is a double-edged sword.  Some of us have mothers who probably shouldn’t have been allowed to have children.  I’m so sorry if your mother was one of them, because it can take a lifetime to recover from that kind of childhood.  Some of us have mothers from whom we’re presently estranged.  If that’s you, then I hope that you can work out your differences and reconcile some day, but I also know that doesn’t always happen this side of heaven.  And some of you are like me–my mom died almost eleven years ago, and so while Mother’s Day always fills me with joy and gratitude when I look at my children, I also feel an aching sadness when I think of my mother (Yes, still.  I probably always will!).  If that’s you, too, then just know that you are not alone today.

 

Heading to Spain for a year abroad; she taught Spanish after college.

Heading to Spain for a year abroad; she taught Spanish after college.

Mom's school photo (as a teacher) in 1969

Mom’s school photo (as a new teacher) in 1969

 

One of my mom’s favorite movies was Shadowlands, which was about C.S. Lewis (one of her favorite authors, and mine, too) and the love story between him and his wife, Joy Davidman.  In the movie, she tells him, “The pain now is part of the happiness then.”   I think that perfectly describes how we feel when we’ve lost someone we deeply love.

 

Modeling in Puerto Rico

Modeling in Puerto Rico

Marrying Dad in 1969

Marrying Dad in 1969

 

There is some comfort.  If you are orphaned (it doesn’t matter if you’re a grown up or a child), God promises you that He will be a father to the fatherless (Psalm 68:5).  He also sets the lonely in families (Psalm 68:6), and since I’m an only child, I’ve learned that many times that “family” is one that is not bound by blood, but by friendship (like my friendship with Amy).  I’ve also been so fortunate to have two wonderful, Godly women take me under their wings and into their hearts–my Aunt Diane and my dear friend, Becky.  They are my Titus 2 friends and surrogate mothers, and they have adopted me, my husband, and my children as their own.  I take comfort that although the family I was born into no longer exists, I am still surrounded by those I love.  I wish you that, too!

 

Christmas 1995. Plaid was a good idea back then.

Christmas 1995. Plaid was a good idea back then.  I’m still not sure why.

If there are dogs in heaven, then Maddie's right by my mom's side.

If there are dogs in heaven, then her grand-dog, Maddie, is right by my mom’s side.

 

My mom’s birthday is in May, as is the day that she died.  Right in between those two is today–Mother’s Day–and a lot of times that makes May a month I would like to ignore altogether.  But this year, in honor of my mother, I thought that I’d share with you the words I wrote as her eulogy, because even though she’s been gone for quite a few years, her life and legacy continue to shape me and others who loved her, and I know that she is a shining example of a life well-lived.

 

2001--her first grandbaby, and the only one she got to meet

2001–With her first grandbaby, and the only one she got to meet

***

May 2002

Family and Friends:

I sit here and try to think of a way to do justice to my mother, who was so unique and extraordinary, and I know that I can never write anything that will communicate just how wonderful she was.  But, I also know that all of you who sit here, sharing our joy and our grief, don’t need my words to tell you the things that my mother showed you through the living of her life. 

My mother was so many things, all of them remarkable.  I am so thankful that God let me be her daughter and let me have thirty years of knowing and loving her.  I selfishly wish that we could have had many more years together and that she could have watched her grandson grow up, but I take so much strength and comfort in the fact that she is watching him–and the rest of us–from the Lord’s side in heaven.

Mom’s relationship with God was the most meaningful thing in her life, and she took enormous comfort from His promises in Scripture.  She spent time every day reading her Bible and praying, and it seemed like Mom had a “direct line” to God’s ear.  It became a family joke that if we really wanted God to answer a prayer, we should have Mom pray for us.  I believe that God honored Mom’s faithfulness to Him by answering her prayer that she would die quickly and without having to fight a long battle with cancer.

My mother was a lovely person on the inside, where it matters most, and she never forgot that inner beauty is far more significant than the other shell.  My mother was gracious, cheerful, and kind, and always the first to laugh at herself.  She remembered people’s names, and birthdays, and favorite colors, and worked hard to keep in touch with her loved ones.  Not a week passed that I didn’t receive a letter or note from her, and we talked on the phone every day.  I know that she was just as diligent in communicating with her other friends and family.  She was my best friend, but I know that there are many others here who considered her their best friend, too.  I can’t think of a more meaningful tribute to the person that she was.

Mom was a beautiful person on the outside, too, and always took care to present a polished exterior to the world (although she did wonder just last week whether she was using her remaining time wisely by continuing to floss her teeth every night).  She was a good steward of the body God had given her and tried to keep it healthy and fit.  She enjoyed clothes, shoes, and jewelry, and the more colorful and cheerful the better.  I guess I’m more like her than I knew–I had to buy shoes to wear for this service since I didn’t have any with me, and I found myself leaving the store with two pairs instead of one.  Stephanie was with me and bought a pair, too.  We had a laugh and figured that Mom would appreciate that even in the darkest of times, you have to put your best foot forward.  

My mother cherished her marriage to Dad and her role as his wife.  My mom and dad have been married for thirty-two years, and their love only deepened and grew stronger as the years went on.  Their utter devotion to God and to each other over the past few weeks is something I will never forget.  Dad’s love for her is so selfless that he rejoices in her freedom and victory over pain and death, even as he faces the loneliness of her absence.  Thank you, Mom and Dad, for showing Chris and me what a marriage can and should be.

I know, too, that my mother loved me more than anything in this world, and that watching Connor and being his grandmother gave her immeasurable joy.  We were together the last few weeks and as always, my mother gave me the strength to face anything, even the unthinkable sadness of her death.  As Chris and I face the challenging task of raising Connor, I have fresh respect for the wonderful example she set for me.

Mom talked a lot about her mother’s death almost seven years ago.  I know that a day didn’t go by without her missing her mother.  She told me that even after so many years, she still thought about Grandma and talked to her every day.  I’m so happy to know that my mom is with Grandma because that, and seeing the Lord, were the two things that made her accept and even anticipate her own death.  I realize now that she was continuing to teach me through her own example.

Mom, thank you for being my mother.  I love you more than I can express, and I will miss you almost more than I can bear, but I have your example to follow, and I will rejoice in and look forward to the fact that our reunion is inevitable.

***

Mom & newborn Connor

Mom & newborn Connor

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Thank you for letting me share my mom with you–I know you might have been expecting something much lighter (maybe a recipe or a room redo?!) and I hope I haven’t disappointed any of you.  I love to talk about her, though, because it keeps her alive in my memory, and helps my children to know her, as well as they ever can, by hearing about her.  So if you’re missing your mom today, just know that you’re not alone–and I’m sending {{love}} and prayers your way.

Thanks for stopping by.

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Comments

  1. That was so lovely! What a beautiful, special person your mom was! As I get older, I realize my days with my mom are numbered, and I dread the day she is no longer with me. I hope you have some special moments tomorrow that remind you of her and her love for you!

  2. Kathleen Warren says

    Christy,
    This is just beautiful and I can see where your beauty came from, both inside and out! Thank you for sharing your heart with us. May you have a blessed Mother’s Day.

  3. Stephanie Zimmerman says

    CJ

    What a gift we were given to spend last weekend together looking back at your mom’s impact on both of our lives.

    I am most thankful for the intention with which she lived her life for God’s greater glory, our good, and the salvation of the nations; for the way she poured herself into me; for the many ways she cultivated our friendship across the years.

    She was grace-in-motion, yet grace-without-effort; the beautiful daughter of the MOST HIGH KING!

    I love you
    Stephie Dee

  4. Thanks for sharing your mom with us, Christy!! So many wonderful words for such a beautiful and amazing person. I wish I could have met her!

  5. Hi Christy,

    What a beautiful tribute to your mother! I love the pictures!

    I came here from the link party at Serenity Now blog…

    I too, miss my mother daily (after 17 years) and probably always will. I used to feel bad that I didn’t seem to be moving on but I have made my peace with it now.

    I wish you a Happy Mother’s Day and send a hug your way from NY…I was meant to find you this morning!

    • Oh, Lauri, thank you for stopping by and commenting! You’re so right–we don’t really move on, we just learn to live with it. I never realized that before, because I’d never lost someone close to me. Thanks so much for the hug from NY, and I’ll send one back to you from TN!

  6. Andrea Freeman says

    Christy,

    Thank you for sharing your wonderful mother with us. I’m delighted to know that she is with our Savior, but I know at times you wish she was here on earth. Saying “so-long” to loved ones is very painful, but it gives me comfort and hope to know that I will have eternity with them.

    It seems that your mom would be very proud of you. : )

  7. Carollynn says

    Long time lurker, first time poster. You said you couldn’t get through writing this post without some tears. Honestly, I couldn’t get through this post without tears either. Lovely story about your mom, like you, I’m an only child and the family I began with no longer exists. Thank you for sharing what many of us could not. Your mother sounds like an amazingly beautiful woman who raised an equally wonderful daughter. Happy Mother’s Day!

    • Carollyn–thank you for commenting instead of lurking! I hope you’ve found and forged a place in a new family, but I know how hard it is. Thanks for crying with me, and for your kind, kind words.

  8. Thank you for this post. Today is a difficult day for so many of us.
    It truly is bittersweet for me and I thank you for sharing your story with all of us.

    • Bittersweet is the perfect way to describe it…but we’ve almost made it through! Thank you for taking the time to comment and telling me that it touched you.

  9. Thank you for your beautiful post. You blessed my heart today.

  10. Thank you for sharing your story. I lost my mom 16 years ago (I was 28). Mother’s Day and her birthday are still hard for me. It helps to know there are others too.

    • I’m sorry, Terri. It doesn’t really matter how long it’s been, does it? If you look at some of the other comments you know they feel the same…

      No, you are not alone, and there is comfort in knowing that–it’s not a club I ever wanted to be a part of, but there’s sisterhood in pushing through it together. God bless you!

  11. Karen Moss says

    Thank you for sharing wonderful memories of your mother. I too miss my mother so very much today and everyday.

  12. I read your blog everyday and I love it. I lost my Mom 3 years ago and I related so much to your post. Thanks for sharing your Mom with us, she was a knockout and sounded like a wonderful Mom/person.

    Happy Mother’s Day!

  13. What a beautiful tribute to your mom. She was obviously a very special person. She sparkles from the inside in all her pictures. I always feel that those who are closest to the Lord have that peace and inner sparkle that draws people to them. I was drawn to her in every photograph. What a joy to know all those we miss dearly will be there waiting for us when our time comes, and we will be together again for eternity. Happy Mother’s Day to you.

    • Carolyn, that was just beautiful–thank you. Yes, Mom absolutely had that sparkle, and I think you nailed it as to why–she drew people to her, but more importantly, to the Lord. Your words gave me great comfort, and I thank you!

  14. Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful tribute to your mom. She is definitely living on in you and I know she must be very proud of the woman/wife/mother that you are today, through her example. Blessings to you and your family!

  15. Thank you for sharing. Your story was lovely. My Dad died in 2003, my Mother in 2004 and my brother also in 2004. Like you I’m all alone too. However God has blessed me with a wonderful husband, two daughters and four grandchildren. I just wish my Mom and Dad could have been here to see the grandchildren.

    • Oh, Kathy, what a hard couple of years you had! I’m so sorry, but so glad that you have your husband, children, and grands to surround you with love. I hope it was a Happy Mother’s Day for you!

  16. Thank you so much for sharing your story as I come out of a challenging couple weeks myself. My mom died on April 28, 1999. Her birthday is May 3 and Mother’s Day always shortly follows. Gets to me each and every year…but also gets easier to be joyful rather than sad. Happy Mother’s Day to you!

    • You go through a tough couple of weeks, just like I do. You’ve made it through for another year, though. Thank you for sharing, and God bless.

  17. Jo Beuchler says

    Christy,
    what a lovely tribute to your Mom. She truly was someone special!

  18. I too lost my mom when I was 17. She was my best friend and I am so sad that she never met my husband and children. She would have adored them and they her. Now my father passed and it is difficult to not have either parent. I am blessed with my brothers, although having some females around would be nice:). It is a sad day, but I do wait for a day to be reunited.

    • Deborah, I’m sorry. I know you must miss them both terribly, and I hope you found lots of love and comfort with your husband and children this Mother’s Day.

  19. Thank you for this. My mom has been gone for 4 years and Mothers Day and other holidays have never quite been the same!

  20. Heartfelt, and beautifully written. Thank you!

  21. Christy ~ What a beautiful tribute to your beautiful mom . . . thank you. Your post helped me more than you know. I have been a bit down since Mother’s Day but your words have lifted me.

    I lost my mom on July 21st, 2010 and it feels as if it were yesterday still. It was sudden and unexpected. The last time I saw her was at my grandmother’s (her mom’s) service in May, 2010 (we lived about 2 hours from each other) . . . so I lost them both in a very short time. It was so hard losing the leading ladies in my life.

    Mom and I were best friends too, she was beautiful on the inside and out and she had a way with her wisdom and love and warmth to set me in the right direction when I was going in the opposite . . . she just had that about her and was loved by so many. We talked on the phone everyday. I still have a difficult time believing she is just not here!

    I was so so blessed to be her daughter and to think that I had an amazing mom like her. Your mom reminds me of mine. I know this is way late but Happy Belated Mother’s Day and again, thank you . . . your post made a huge difference for me.

    • Gini–your comment brought tears to my eyes. I can feel how much you miss her through your words! She sounds like a tremendous lady, and of course she can never be replaced.

      It does help to know that we’re not alone, and I’m so glad if my words helped you. I know it helped me to write them!
      XOXO,
      Christy

  22. Carolyn E says

    I am a little late to read (and post) this entry. I’m sitting here, tears running down my face wondering how you got through writing those words. Knowing you and your strength though, I know exactly how.

    You are such an inspiration to me, always have been. Not only for your craftiness and your fabulous eye for seeing what others cannot, but more because of your example of how to be true and right regardless of the circumstances. I admire how you always carry yourself high and confident even when you may feel uncertain.

    Though I was never blessed with knowing your mother, I have no doubt she shines through in all the wonderful things we see in you. Your foundation, the reason we love you, is what we all, as mothers, friends, daughters, wives, sisters, cousins….strive for. I am also certain AB looks toward you with the same admiration, respect and love as you do toward your mother.
    I love you dear friend…

    • Just wow, Carolyn! I really don’t have any words that are adequate for the tremendous compliments in those paragraphs you wrote for me, but I love you, too, and have treasured our friendship as the most precious of gifts over the last decade. As you know, I’ve learned that blood isn’t always thicker than water, and friends are the family we choose for ourselves. Thank you for being part of my family!

  23. Sandi Anderson says

    What a beautiful tribute Christy! I would love to hear more about your mother really soon!

  24. A most beautiful story Christy….you know she is smiling down at you from the heavens and saying what a most beautiful daughter she has…you inherited your beautiful soul from your mom.

  25. Your mom would be so proud of all u post I just know she would even though we will probably never meet your blog is a daily reminder of the beauty in life. I especially enjoyed reading about the shoe shopping in the eulogy. Real life

  26. Colin Boss says

    Hi Christy. This is my first view of your blog and it is lovely. This article really struck a chord with me, as my own mother died when I was 5 years old and I’ve always wished I’d known her during my adult life. Your words and sentiment are so heartfelt that I had to share this article with my siblings (my brother was only 6 months old at the time so has no memory whatsoever whilst I do).throughout the years I , along with our dad, have become the ones to make sure the new generation of grandchildren ‘know’ of her. Anyhow, enough of the maudlin though, I’m off to enjoy every other post and to check out your lovely blog. Best wishes, Colin

    • Colin,
      Thanks so much for taking the time to write and tell me about your mom. You were so much younger than I when you lost yours, but please know that I do understand the emptiness that her absence leaves. I’m glad that you’ve become the caretaker of precious family memories of her and that you’re sharing her with the younger generation.
      Take care,
      Christy

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