Sunday, May 8, 2011

It's "Mommy's Happy Day"!

At least, according to my 2-year-old niece, Katie Joy, it is.  Most people prefer the term "Happy Mother's Day."  But I really like her phraseology's just so sweet! 

I vividly remember my first Mother's Day after Hannah went to Heaven.  She had only been gone a little over two months, and I was absolutely dreading the day.  We attended church in Mountain Home with my parents and brother and sister-in-law that day, so we could see Katie Joy and her big sister, Julia, be dedicated before their family went overseas for another 3 1/2 years serving as missionaries in Indonesia.  I was so glad to be there for their dedication, but I could not get out of there fast enough when it was over.

The hardest thing about that day was hearing people say, "Happy Mother's Day!"  Happy Mother's Day?  Are you kidding me?  There was nothing happy about that day.  Yes, I was still a Mom, and in my head I knew how blessed I was to have been Hannah and Bethany's Mom, but I was just so raw emotionally.  Every "Happy Mother's Day" felt like a physical blow.  I went to bed that night feeling very battered.

So this is my third Mother's Day since Hannah went to Heaven, and I still cringe inwardly a little bit when I hear that phrase.  "Happy Mother's Day" is an imperative...a command.  Every time I hear it (or read it on Facebook), I wonder how many women out there feel like I did on that first Mother's Day without Hannah...that Mother's Day won't ever be happy again.  Maybe that woman has lost her own Mom, or lost her child, or maybe she's never experienced the joy of being a Mom. 

Until I lost my child, I had no idea how painful Mother's Day can be for some women. 

I'm so thankful to be able to say that this holiday has gotten progressively easier over the past three years.  This day is not what it once was, but I understand that it never will be the same again.  Today's been an emotional day for me...but the tears have not come so much from sadness as from gratitude.  Gratitude for the sixteen Mother's Days I had with Hannah...gratitude for my precious Bethany....gratitude for a loving husband...and gratitude for my own wonderful mother and mother-in-law.  Among so many other things, Hannah's life and death taught me to fully appreciate the blessings I have.

And since we're on the topic of mothers.....

My friend, Janice, and I are in the process of planning a "While We're Waiting" Mini-Retreat for Bereaved Moms.  We've wanted to do this for quite awhile, after visiting with several women who wanted to come to the couples retreat, but whose husbands were not ready to come.  This one-day mini-retreat will be held at my friend Janice's home, overlooking beautiful Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs, and will be a full day of pampering, delicious food, and Christian fellowship with a group of Moms who understand what it's like to experience the loss of a child.  We'll share our stories and discuss issues that we face as grieving Moms.  We'll have some fun, too...taking an afternoon lake cruise on a pontoon boat, and enjoying some other surprises.  We'll share our struggles and our joys, and build lasting relationships as we encourage and pray for each other.  The date for this event will be June 25th, and you can register or get more information by clicking here.  We're going to limit the group to the first six women who register, because we want to keep our gathering personal and intimate.  If you would like to come, and can't make it in June, don't worry....we plan to do one of these every few months. 

And we're not going to forget about the Dads!  Our husbands are working on a "While We're Waiting" mini-retreat for Dads as well, but we don't yet have a date for it.  So far, all we really know about the Dads retreat is that it's going to include a lot of guy stuff....4-wheeler riding, canoeing, fishing, etc.  I'll let you know more details as it develops.

As I look out the window, I see that the sun is slipping below the horizon.  I pray that you have experienced some special blessings on this "Mommy's Happy Day", and that the God of hope has filled you with joy and peace.


Cathie said...

Your blogs sometimes cause me to tear up but only in a good way. May you have a blessed mom's day every day this week:)

Jennifer Villacci said...

I really enjoyed this, you are a very talented writer. Yesterday was my first without Vincent and also the two year anniversary of his diagnosis. I had a good day anyway with breakfast out with Freddie & Sofi, planting flowers with Sofi, and then a movie and dessert with girlfriends that night. It was good but not without sadness. The retreat sounds so wonderful, I wish I lived closer and I would be begging to be one of the six. Have a wonderful time. Thank you so much for writing this blog, it is truly beautiful.