Encouragement from One Woman to Another

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A couple of people posing for the camera

There are some things that only time and perspective can teach you. If your mom is still alive (or you are blessed with a relationship with another woman that is important to you) I want to share some things that I am learning only through retrospect.

My sister passed away suddenly in 2000. My mom passed away under adverse conditions in 2010. Today I went to my son-in-law’s grandfather’s funeral. I cried. In the church. In the car. After visiting my son at college. Again in the car most of the way home.

Why the tears? Because for so many years I have been the strong one. My sister died and my parents needed to rely on me. My niece needed me to be her family, her rock. My adopted kids needed me to be the constant in their struggles to learn to attach. My dad passed away and my mom needed my strength and presence. When my mom died, settling her estate and dealing with a lawsuit allowed me to postpone the grief.

Today I allowed myself just to feel. To remember the funerals. To be sad.

As much as I believed I had done everything I could to be present and strong, I realize if I could go back there are some things I would do differently. Words I would say and moments I would change. I can’t live in regret, but I can tell you what I’ve learned.

See your mom as as individual. Someone with a past, a present and a desire for a future filled with hope. She is more than just your mom. She has dreams and goals and memories to share. Ask her specific questions. Look at her through eyes that see her afresh.

Tell her she is pretty. Compliment her. My mom could be negative and not take a compliment well. At some point I probably stopped trying. I should have tried harder. Looked in her eyes and told her I was proud when people said I looked like her. Which they did. And I do. Look like her. I look at her pictures now and realize how truly lovely she was.

Tell her you are proud of her. Today as I left my son at his college I told him I was proud of him. He held me and said he was proud of the way I raised him. Yes, I cried.
Say thank you. As a mother, I know nothing means more to me than words of gratitude from a thankful heart. They are balm to my soul.

Affirm her role in your life. Tell her you need her and love her and want her to be a part of your life in whatever way she can. Everyone needs to be needed.

Most of all, tell her she is “beautifully and wonderfully made.”

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  1. As one who lost her mother six short years ago, I totally understand what you’re saying. My mother was a wonderful mother, but we had our differences when it came to religion. Still, the Lord allowed me to build bridges rather than burn them, and I’m so glad I did.

    I remember one day my mother said to me the most encouraging words I have ever heard in my life. “Lisa,” she said, “If someone ever tries to tell you that you did not honor your parents, don’t believe them. You have honored us so much, and we love you.”

    As a young person, it was extremely important for me to honor my parents. If I didn’t honor them, how else would they see the Savior? And so, Mom’s words went right to my heart, and have stayed there since.

    To those who still have their mothers, I would say, “honor them while you can. Appreciate what they have done, and thank them. You WILL be blessed for it.”

    1. Thank you so much for sharing this. As my mother died under tragic circumstances sometimes I still feel like I didn’t do enough or somehow I should have been able to protect her. But she knew I loved her and had sacrificed my own family many times to be with her and my dad. My own children were a part of serving my parents through the years and I thank God I was able to model it before them; the good, the bad, the frustrating, the exhausting and sacrificial way of honoring my parents. I pray your grief will lessen and your joy be made complete. God bless you.

  2. I’m in Crystal’s camp. I had a hard time reading this post. It really grated on me. It made me want to scream, actually.

    And then I had the opportunity to take a hour long drive last night all by myself so I could meet some beautiful mamas for dinner. I left the radio off and just tried to let everything settle down and be still during that drive. It was then that the Holy Spirit went to work. Your post wouldn’t leave me. I realized that it wasn’t really making me mad, but that it was a direct answer to prayer and it outlines the path that may eventually be able to lead to patching some kind of relationship back together. I’ll never have the trust and support I need for my kids, but I can still appreciate the good things and the support she is able to give in other ways.

    So, thank you for sharing your heart and letting God use you to answer my prayers.

  3. Wow, what an incredible post. Thank you for this reminder. I just lost my grandfather who was one of the most important people in my life. I cried for days. I also was not able to attend the funeral as I live on the west coast and he on the East coast…and my dh was away on business at the time.

    I do look like my mom…and I will be seeing her in May…so will tell her things you have mentioned.

    Thank you for stopping by my blog…I look forward to getting to know you better. Will add you to my follower list.

    We are walking a hard one with one of our adopted kids…still not sure where I’m going with this…but God is my refuge and strength.

    Many cyber hugs,

  4. oh Marty this post hits a little too close to home –WIthout going into a lot of detail my mom is one of the reasons I have huge trust issues. I know in my heart she did the best she could and I completely forgive her but I try to move on and she still keeps doing the same thing over and over and it is just hard. She does not know the Lord and I pray for her everyday

    But hey we are at Marco Island with the kids and it is beautiful and who can be sad with the sun shining and the beach?!!!! We are going to find shells today and then swimming all day between the pool and the beach –I am loving this time with the kids and hubby!!!! 🙂

    I hope you guys are having a wonderful day –You are an amazing mommma and I adore you!!!!! 🙂