My dear, beautiful friend,
I remember the day I received the news; the way my heart pounded and my eyes filled with tears as the enormity of your loss hit me. I remember imagining, just for a moment, being in your shoes, and the heartbreak and physical illness that tore through me. Yet the reality was not mine; it was yours. You had lost your beautiful mother.
It’s the natural order of things – we’re supposed to lose our parents at some point, but that day is supposed to be an unidentifiable point years down the track, so far off that it never feels as though it will actually be real. Yet for you it is real, that point has come and gone, that mighty hammer has struck its unforgiving blow.
I can’t tell you that I know what you’re going through, that I have any idea of how it feels, day after day, carrying on and living your life without the one who gave it to you. I can’t tell you that it’s going to get better, that your grief will end, that healing is just around the corner.
But if I have learnt one thing in my journey so far as a mother, there is one thing I can tell you with the utmost certainty.
You were loved.
Motherhood is a pure, unrelenting, heart stopping passage of joy that can make your chest burst open, sadness that can turn you inside out, and love that pulses through every inch of your body. And your mother? She felt that for you. Whether she died tragically when you were young, or whether she lived a long, full life into her nineties and passed in her sleep, you were her first and last thought of every day. You were her greatest joy, her proudest accomplishment, her heart beat, her most worthy purpose. You changed her whole world, you re-directed her life path, you invoked new levels of wonder, of fear, of doubt in herself and her ability to raise an actual human being from scratch. Your very presence changed her identity from that of “woman” to that of “mother”. You, your brothers and your sisters, your names were etched across her heart.
She may not have been perfect, but motherhood rarely is. And whether or not she always showed it well… You. Were. Loved.
She might be gone, but that love? That can’t slip away so easily. It’s ingrained in you. It sustained you when you were small, it equipped you, it filled your life cup, and ultimately it taught you how to love others. Your mother’s love is right there under your skin and affects the way you love your children, your spouse, your siblings, your friends. It’s a love drawn from her experiences, her wisdom, her ideas, the lessons she learnt, the mistakes she made, her joy, her sorrow, her hopes, her fears – it might not be a perfect love, but it is a unique one, built and blossomed between the two of you during your time together on earth. That love is her legacy.
Today, this Mother’s Day, this annual reminder of what you had, and have now lost, I’m not asking you to take comfort in these words. I’m not pretending that I have the answers you need, an end to your process of grief, or a message of hope tied in a neat little bow. Whether the loss is recent and the pain is fresh, or whether it has been some time and it’s now more of a dull, constant ache, I just wanted to remind you, my friend. To acknowledge it; to give it a voice…
You were loved.
You were so loved.