It came in my email, and I stopped to read. I don’t always have time to do that, but today I did. What I read made me want to laugh and weep at once, a mingling of joy and crushing grief.
But mostly hope, and here’s why.
What I read about was a friend who is moving with her family back to her home town, and the delight of giving the news to her mother—on her birthday.
Tears pooled in my eyes thinking about the last birthday I spent with my mother, how there is little I wouldn’t give for just a few minutes sitting at her bedside again to tell her all the things I’ve needed to tell her over the past seven years.
Some girls think of their mothers and don’t have that longing. We humans are sadly broken deep down and the disease that pocked us since the Garden poisons our lives and robs us of what should have been. Sometimes that should-have-been is a relationship with Mama.
I’m simple, but not so simple-minded as to think it’s always as easy as just picking up the phone or showing up on a porch and choking that hard “I’m sorry” and hugging close with Hans Zimmer music swelling in the background. Sometimes the pain is deep and years-long and bridges take some time to build.
What I’m asking of you isn’t that you make jiffy-pop peace. What I’m asking is that you love her.
I am a girl standing on the other side of her mother’s life, and I can tell you that one way or another you are going to have regrets when she’s gone. You will, no matter how great your relationship. You can’t always make up for lost time. You can’t always fix what is busted.
But you can love. You can say those words and mean them, even if the reality is that a close relationship just can’t happen. It’s hard living in this skin, wrapped up in choices others have made and choices we have made and tragedies where life hit us broadside.
Ours is not to change everything. Ours is to love, and it has to be God’s love because our own isn’t deep enough, isn’t strong enough, isn’t resilient enough to shoulder all those hurts and abuses and sins and pieces of memory that haunt us in the night–and still hold up.
We were never meant to love without Him, and we don’t have to look far to see the pitiable result of trying to, the façade of human love that shatters like meringue without His heart holding it all together.
Tell her you love her, and mean it. If she’s already gone, then love her in your heart. You can do that, not because she deserves it or she was perfect or everything was grand but because she was your mother. You will walk forward with far less pain.
Love your mama, sweet girl, and heal.