It hit me last Sunday that Mother’s Day was coming and this would be my first with one less child. My son, P.J., died on September 19, 2018 at the age of 26. If I’d talked to someone like me a year ago I’d have said “It’s just another day. Don’t let it bring you down.” Mother’s Day aside, if I’d talked to someone like me a year ago, I’d have said “Don’t dwell in your grief. Focus on happy memories and press on.” I would’ve meant well, but my words would have come from an ignorant heart.
Since my husband was battling cancer at the time of my son’s death, I had a distraction. So the first few holidays came and went with only a few tears shed here and there. But then my husband got the “all clear” in late February. He is cancer free! Praise God! At the moment we got that news, it was as if I had awaken from a six month coma. Unfortunately, it was also as if someone had said to me “And by the way, while you were in that coma, your child died.” And then it happened. I started the true grieving process.
These last few months I have been a mess, and since I’m the one known for my positivity and strength, I feel like a failure. I’ve been functioning in a fog, trying to keep everyone else from worrying about me but also barely being able to get the minimum things done. Recently a friend called me “super woman.” But grief is my kryptonite… making it more difficult to stand. I feel weak, but grief is not the opposite of strength, just as fear is not the opposite of courage. Courage is pushing through even though you’re terrified at times. Strength is moving forward even though you are grieving a terrible loss.
It’s just past midnight as I write this. It’s Mother’s Day. I haven’t turned into a pumpkin and I am not any sadder than I was yesterday. Today will be different. It will be another first without P.J., but another day to be thankful that the joy of the Lord is my strength.