Every Mom who has lost a child has been there. She's with a group of other Moms who are all sharing funny and entertaining stories about their children. She remembers a cute story about her child (you know, the one that's in Heaven), and she gets ready to tell it. She waits for a break in the conversation, and maybe even takes in a breath as she readies to share her story. But then her resolve falters. She remembers the last time she brought up her child's name in a group of Moms...how eye contact was suddenly broken, how the laughter became stilted, how the conversation waned. So she closes her lips together, exhales silently, and just keeps smiling as she listens to the other Moms' stories about their kids. After all, she doesn't want to make anyone feel uncomfortable, or worse yet, incur the pity of these ladies.
Maybe her child did not live past infant-hood, and she has no stories to share. Or maybe her child had children of his or her own, whom she is now raising. She loves those grandkids more than life itself, but she's so busy caring for them that she doesn't have time to swap stories with other Moms...or she's just too tired to talk! Or maybe her child should be in school right now, and hearing other Moms' stories of their children's school days makes her unable to speak past the lump in her throat.
And if she did speak about her child, would the other Moms understand? Would they be aware of the personal cost she is incurring simply by speaking her child's name out loud? What might they do if they detected a reddening of her eyes, or God forbid, a tear? And what if she took the risk of honestly expressing some of the thoughts, fears, and doubts she's experiencing? Would they assume she's lost her faith? Might they feel that she's burdening them with her grief? And then, after she walks away, would they shake their heads and say, "Poor _____. She's really having a hard time."
Might a well-meaning Mom touch her hand and say, "You know, honey, you really should be over this by now. It's time to move on."?
Most of the time, it's just easier for her to keep her mouth shut and just keep smiling. Even when she really feels like crying.
That's what the "While We're Waiting" Mini-Retreat for Bereaved Moms is all about. At a WWW Mini-Retreat, we bring a small group of Moms together and spend the day sharing stories about our children and discussing issues we face as grieving Moms. It's a safe place, where we can speak openly without fear of being judged, pitied, or told that we need to move on. Every Mom will have the opportunity to have a private massage in the afternoon...so those shoulders that have been carrying the weight of the world can finally relax for awhile. And the food! Breakfast and lunch will be provided, and they will be wonderful...but the dinner will be the highlight of the day. A five-course gourmet dinner will be prepared and served for us by our own private chef. The food will be absolutely exquisite!
As bereaved Moms, we carry an enormous load. After all, it's up to Mom, isn't it, to keep everything going? Sometimes it helps just to have someone to help shoulder the burden, and that's one of the goals of the WWW Mini-Retreat for Moms. We'll laugh together, we'll cry together (none of us are made uncomfortable by tears), and we'll pray for each other. And we'll encourage each other to live well, in a way that honors our children and our Lord, while we're waiting for that glorious reunion someday.
Our next WWW Mini-Retreat for Moms is set for September 17, 2011, and it's filling up fast. As of right now, we have room for just two more ladies. We purposely keep our groups small, so that everyone is able to participate equally, and to encourage a more intimate and comfortable gathering. If you have lost a child and think you might like to attend, just click the tab above ("Mini Retreat for Bereaved Moms"). You can get more specific details about the day, including a schedule of events, and testimonials from a couple of Moms who have attended. It also includes a link to our "While We're Waiting" website, where you can register for this event online. Or you can send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll get you signed up. We'd love to have you join us. If you'd like to come, but you're just not ready yet, that's fine. We'll be having more of these...our next one will probably be in January.
And Dads...We haven't forgotten about you! Watch for information about the "While We're Waiting Weekend" for Dads (October 7-9, 2011) in a future "Tell About It Tuesday." And we have a "While We're Waiting Weekend" for Couples coming up November 4-6, 2011. We're currently seeking the Lord's leadership regarding a "While We're Waiting" event for siblings as well...No date has been set for that as of this time. Siblings, we've discovered, are often the forgotten people when a child is lost.
Maybe you've never lost a child, but you can still be involved in "While We're Waiting" by telling someone who has lost a child about these events. We're about to begin the process of pursuing 501(c)(3) status for "While We're Waiting", so at some point, we may also ask you to support these events financially so we can continue to offer them at a minimal cost to participants. But for right now, the most important thing you can do for "While We're Waiting" is to pray...pray for the people who attend, pray for us (Jill, Brad, Larry, Janice) as we facilitate these events, and pray that God would be honored through all we do. Thank you!!
"But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with perseverance." Romans 8:25