Friday, May 12, 2017

A thanksgiving for the gifts of motherhood

* A bittersweet reflection

The three most influential women in my life are my mom and my two grandmothers.  They not only passed down genes and habits, some good and some challenging, they also set an example for how a woman can flourish, lead and encourage the flourishing of others.  Lately I’ve been thinking about the storms they survived many years before I was born, and how their sorrow and pain would one day develop the love, faith and joy which nurtured me in my youth. Everyone who knows or has seen a photo of Vera Salmons, knows I have her grin. When my eyes are sometimes a grayish blue and other times an olive brown, I remember Rosie Benton’s caring eyes. I know I have her hips, if only I had her waist! And for anyone who knows Ann Salmons, there is no doubt I am my mother’s daughter, from our love of wonderful music, to our zealous love of crafting, we love to give our entire beings to our passions. I had hoped to share their joy in holding my own child this mother’s day, and instead I am holding the grief we share in the loss of a child. 

Over the last several months, many mothers have shared their stories of miscarriage and child loss with me in the wake of our loss.  Sometimes it is all a blur, because no matter how many months or years we knew our child, the grief is still raw and painful.  We all yearn to love, be loved, and experience that mysterious connection of body and heart. 

As we look towards Mother’s day, I am choosing to be thankful. I am thankful for the joys of motherhood I have felt for a short while. I am thankful for the many women who comforted me and walked with me through shadows and light during these past several months. I am thankful for my mother and my grandmothers.  I am thankful for their love.  I am thankful for their faith. Most of all, I am thankful for the strength I feel in my very being that they passed on to me. I am thankful that my parents can remind me of Granny and Mama’s stories, and I am thankful for the hope that I will one day share their stories with our children. Glory be to God, Alleluia. Amen.

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