Today is a difficult day. That’s precisely why I want to write what’s on my mind. The emotions are raw and close to the surface and I want these thoughts preserved when I’m less likely to censor, edit and soften them.
Nine years ago today my 9 day old daughter Samantha “Sami” Renae died. On a gorgeous clear, blue sky spring day, just like today. And I remember thinking as I made the walk down that wide, long corridor connecting our room to the hospital, ‘not today. It couldn’t happen on a day like today.’ But it did. The story of those months and days are best told in other posts on other days. I want to talk about another difficult day rapidly approaching and I can’t address it without telling this much of the story.
Mother’s Day. A wonderful day to celebrate moms, moms-in-law, moms-to-be and all of those who have been like a mom in our lives. I want to tell you not all of us feel like celebrating. It is painful, it hurts and I for one just want the day over. I know I’m not alone. A vast, gaping hole in my heart and in my world prevents me from feeling complete joy on this day. For so many this is an emotionally charged day. Be aware, be kind.
I married into a large family that gets together regularly for celebrations, including Mother’s Day. In a way it helps me. I focus on my mother-in-law and my sisters-in-law, enjoy my nieces, nephews and for a good part of the day I can shove off the heavy feelings of loss. A year ago my mother died, adding another dimension of pain to the day. My daughter lives out of the area so I don’t get to share the day with her. Missing her is an ache that never eases.
On Mother’s Day my heart aches and breaks for two very important people in my life. My bonus kids. Me being here means their mother is not. I’m not consumed by that thought, but there are certain times when it is blunt and clear that I am not who should be here. Certainly, it’s a contradiction. I love them with a heart that doesn’t recognize ‘step children’. (How I hate that word ‘stepmom’. A blog post topic of its very own.) As much as I love being in their lives, I have to acknowledge the great loss that brought us all here. I have often told them, “I am not your mom, but I am A MOM.” It is that mom’s heart that can not fathom, nor take away the shattering pain they both have endured. I have no idea what I can do, if anything, to bridge the gap on this day.
Mother’s Day is for me, a complicated day. My goal was not to throw myself a pity party. I am fully aware of the incredible blessings I enjoy. I have so many kids to love and I hope I do it in a way that they never doubt their place in my heart. Because while that hole remains, I have learned that a heart can also expand to include more than you ever imagined. A heart shatters, but I have also learned that a heart mends. It is never the same, it takes on a new shape….the shape of hope.
That’s what I know….for today.