Broken Moments: Grieving on Mother’s Day


Welcome to one of the days of the year where many feel the duality of life’s happiest and hardest moments in the deepest of ways. Mother’s Day is celebrated as a day to value mom’s around the world and honor all that they are but for many men and women, it is a double edge sword of broken moments.

I’m a mother of seven children. Two of my kids born to me and my late husband Mitch, two of my kids given to me upon my commitment and marriage to my husband Keith, and three of my children never fully given to me in the physical form, only in spirit. Three little souls that I loved from the moment I saw the positive pregnancy test and lost before their smile had a chance to fill up my life. The duality of Mother’s Day can only be explained as moments of joy combined with the hurt of loss.

Loss is part of our collective human experience yet a taboo subject that many won’t broach. I would gather to say that nearly every person who celebrates this day with a happy façade also harbors pain they are sacred to share and show. Our vulnerability is often looked upon as weakness rather than marked as a growth of spirit and an honesty of the heart.

Mother’s Day for many means the remembrance of a mother who was lost to death, or for some a mother who died in spirit after the loss of their partner through divorce or widowhood. We grieve for those who never decided to live again because life was more than they could handle. Many people grieve for the nearly perfect mother given and taken away too soon, or perhaps we grieve for the concept of the nearly perfect mother never realized.

Mother’s Day is also a remembrance for children lost either before or after birth. Women who’ve been placed in the role of motherhood, only to have their child taken away. These women are and will forever be mothers. The decision to have another child does not mean you stop loving the child(ren) who came before, and it just means you moved forward and expanded your heart to love additionally on top of the love you already hold close for those that came before.

Mother’s Day is also a remembrance of the small children who don’t have their mom and will never know the immense love a mother has for her children. Father’s Day is one of the hardest days of the year for me personally, but I’m sure many widowed men feel the same way about Mother’s Day. To understand the love your partner had for their children, and to know your children can’t feel that love in physical form, it’s a pain that is not easily put into words.

Mother’s Day and its duality plays in other ways as well. The loss of youth, time and freedom. It’s not politically correct to say that as mother’s we miss the moments before motherhood where we were completely unattached, but I’m not sure I’d be honest if I denied those feelings. I wouldn’t trade my children for anything in the world, but I have moments where I miss the days that came before. I wouldn’t go back; I wouldn’t change a thing, but I didn’t always know to appreciate my life before I became a mother. I was always more concerned with the destination rather than living in the moment. That’s a lesson that has been repeated in my life and experiences like motherhood only continue to teach me.

As I celebrate Mother’s Day, I am overcome with joy and happiness at the beautiful moments of motherhood. I celebrate my children, my unexpected marriage with an incredible new partner who has become a father to my babies by choice. I celebrate my life that is far from what I imagined but amazing and beautiful just the same.

I also grieve.

I grieve for my late husband who never got a real chance to see me be a mother and will never again be able to help our kids celebrate this day. I grieve for my children’s loss of innocence as they faced death at an unacceptable age. I grieve for the children lost and the ideal of motherhood never realized.

It’s a day of duality.

I’m beyond happy, and my happiness is also laced with sadness. I think that’s what makes us so beautiful and so unique as a species. Our human capacity to feel joy, sorrow, life, loss and incredible love…all at one broken moment.


6 thoughts on “Broken Moments: Grieving on Mother’s Day

  1. I grieve the lost of a Mother whom I was taken away from at the age of five due to her poor health and unable to look after her little children properly, what a heart ache it must have been to her to lose us all but I thank the good Lord for putting me into a good Christian home where I grew up and enjoyed her till she left us at the age of 85 and that my children were able to call her Grannie and she loved them with all her heart, so many blessings to be thankful for today, HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY

  2. This article struck so many chords with me.. I have lost my husband of 33 years, my mother-in-law (a second mother to me) and my mom, all in the last two years. While I am so thankful for my son and his precious boy, my nieces and nephews and their children, I do grieve for my lost family. The “high holy days” of family, like Mother’s Day are especially difficult. This first Mom’s Day without the mother who gave me her all, and prepared me to be a mom; the man who married and adored me and made me a mother; and my mom in law who loved me like the daughter she never had… I miss them all so much. But I was, and am still… Truly Blessed to have had all that love.

  3. Love this post. My son came home with a project from school and one of the questions was : Who is the boss at your house? My son answered “my mom is because we are the only ones who live there” That just ripped my heart out and I ran to my late husband’s urn and just bawled. It is a day of happiness for having my son, but sadness for not having his dad watch me be a mom. Happy Mother’s day to you! Nicole

  4. I relate to you on so many levels that I don’t even know where to begin. I lost my husband Tom to brain cancer 18 months ago. We have twin daughters who were 4 at the time. Far too young to experience this type of loss. It amazes me daily all the memories they have and the impact he made upon their lives. I am still trying to find life after loss and it comforts me to hear you speak of the duality of grief. I know it will never go away but you give me hope that I can still love my husband and move forward to make a life for me and my girls. Thank you.

  5. Beautiful. Grief is like being in a swift moving river, sometimes you feel like your drowning, sometimes you feel exhilarated and empowered, and sometimes you are just afraid of what is around the bend. Breath deep and hang on, sometimes we all need to reach out for that rock to hold us up. And, hopefully, we can find our way, and help others as we move our way down through the current. God bless you all.

  6. Great article! I lost my mom in 2011, and my adult sons in 2012 & 2013. Losing my mom I felt like an orphan. Losing my sons, I felt alone….
    Mothers day is one of the most difficult times for me because I no longer have that connection. I feel like I lost the two titles, daughter and mom….

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