I John 3:18

All original content copyright Jessica Nicole Schafer, 2007-2016.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Even After Breath, Love Wins, My Darling.

There's a divine group of women I asked to come along this journey with me.  Every several weeks, we get the chance to come together and just vent.
I've found kindred spirits in their sweet souls.  They've made me feel loved.  I've tried hard to make them feel loved.

I've noticed over the past year or so that we have all done something, whether intentionally, or not.  In some ways, we each have mothered one another. 

While not ideal, and while it's never meant as a replacement, we have.  We vary in age, our Momma's have left us at all different times in our lives.  Yet we so deeply see the need for that Mother daughter bond, that we often step in and fill it for one another.
I love that.
I believe my Momma would've loved that. 

The bond between a mother and child is so strong, and the yearning for that bond never lessens after they leave us. 
So many of us who go on without them know the reflex to call them, whether it's been a month, or eight years.  We still want to call Momma.  We want to share our news with her, no matter how good or bad it may be. 

I've also noticed something about myself since living out these years without her to lean on. 
I've started to mother myself.  Sometimes, it is instinct.  Other times, it is not.  VERY much not.  There will be those crucial times, when I want advice, input, encouragement, or just interaction...but from nobody but her.... I have to push myself to stand in for her.  In those moments, (often they come in spurts, sometimes the length in between is long....other times, they just keep happening) I find myself wondering what it is she would say or do or be for me.
She'd just be my Momma.  She'd be the one in my corner, regardless.  She'd be the one taking up for me, stepping up for me, standing up for me, protecting me.  I've noticed when I feel those same things about our sweet son, I remember...."Oh yeah.  Momma felt these things for my sister and me.  She thought we were so wonderful.  She dreamed for us.  She would've (and often did) said and did whatever needed to be done to take care of us."  (I'm grateful I still have Daddy here, and a stepmom now.  I know so many others don't even have that.  It is something I do not take for granted.)

Lately I have been thinking about my birthday that happens this fall.  I'll be turning 35.  It's one of those "big" ones.  Heaven knows how much I wish she were here to celebrate.  I know how much she wishes she were here, as well.  It donned on me recently how young I was when it all happened.  I've learned to go on, to cope, to roll with the punches of this grief, so much that I often forget.  It took several comments over the past few weeks that made me remember.  Yes, in the grand scope of things, I was young when it all happened.  In some ways, remembering that is helping me to be gentle with myself.  It is helping me love myself.  That realization, which has just been on my heart so deeply, has helped me give myself permission again to grieve. Not to lock myself away for days and cry.  (Though sometimes, that is exactly what we need to get us through the deep grief we carry.)  But, only to whisper to myself that it is okay.  It's okay to hurt, it's okay to want my Momma....just like our little boy wants me even moreso when he is hurting. 

That is what grief is, it is hurt.  We hurt.  I am so grateful for my husband, who always lovingly sits with me in this grief.  Who often just looks at me, and knows already what I'm thinking.  He is a soft spot for me to lean on when he knows I just want Momma. 

It has been a little over seven years.  I guess I expected to be in a "different" place regarding my own personal grief.  Life keeps reminding me that as gentle, as forgiving, as merciful, as I can be towards others.....it is a good thing to be the same way with myself.

A sweet friend reminded me that seven years is not that long.  She was right. 

In the grand scheme of this life, it is perfectly okay for me to sometimes say, "I want my Momma, It's not fair you still have yours, Stop complaining about your Momma, I want someone to come help me clean my house, I want someone to come give my husband and I a break, I want her to come babysit for me, I want....I just want her."

There's a whiteboard in our schoolroom.  I wanted to put a great quote on it, for our family to see everyday.  Something inspirational, empowering, motivational, etc.  At the end of the day, I remembered how loved I always felt by her.  What echoes through my heart is how powerful love is, because even beyond her days here, I can hear her tell me, her daughter, something like this:

If there's anything I can remember rightly, it is that she loved me.  That, I believe, she still loves me.  If there's anything I want my husband and our son to know, what they will never have to doubt, not in a million years, it is just that:  You are so loved by me, My Darlings.

For the moments you think your love may not be that big of a deal, I hope you can remember it certainly is.  I hope you know, in all the grief you are carrying, that you are so loved, my darling.

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