when mother’s day hurts…

I will never forget the third Sunday of June of 1994.  I was in college, and few of us had volunteered to lead kids in Sunday afternoon program.  We had decided to do a special project on this Sunday… probably the most popular craft that is done on this day every year… A TIE-card for Father’s Day!  We probably thought we were brilliant to come up with this craft (haha… if we had only known how many people thought they were brilliant to come up with this craft all around the country!)  As we passed out the cut out tie-cards, a third grade boy with the cutest chipmunk face you’ve ever seen looked up at me and said, “Teacher Gloria, do you have a dad?”

I felt blood rushing to my face… how could we have been so insensitive to this kid?  We all knew that he had lost his dad not too long ago…  The rest of the conversation went like this:

Me:  You know what?  I do have a dad… but you have something I don’t have.

G:  What?

Me:  You have a mom…. I don’t have a mom.  I have a dad, but you don’t have a dad.  Why don’t we go to that bench and talk?  You don’t have to do this craft…

(and I don’t remember the details of the conversation that took place, but I remember learning a lot about what it means to minister to kids, how God used my past experience to talk to this kid, and it was even healing for me.)

I was only 8-years old when my mom came into the room to pray because she had a huge headache.  I was eating in front of the television (some things never change…) when the phone rang.  My dad had been on a trip with our church pastor to acquire our church’s first van.  I told him that my mom was praying, and that I shouldn’t disturb her.  My dad called back 30 minutes later.  He said that he really needed to talk to her, so I put him on hold and went to get my mom.  I shook her, and she didn’t move.  I felt panicked all of a sudden, and told my dad that my mom wasn’t moving.  He hung up.  I felt super-panicked.  I sat next to my mom for what felt like hours (in reality, I have no idea how long I had been sitting there).  Every so often, I would shake her–no response… My dad came home, and immediately picked her up and took her to the hospital.  10 days later, I was at her funeral.  My mom had passed away of aneurism.

I only knew my mom for 8 short years… but she’s had profound impact and influence in my life!  I have heard countless stories about my mom from those who knew her and loved her.  Since I had lost my mom so early in my life, so  many people stepped up to play “my mom.”  I’m forever grateful to both my grandmothers and all my aunts.  They were all there for me every step of my life!  They did a fantastic job of filling in for my mom whenever necessary… and on Mother’s Day, I got used to writing 4-6 cards instead of just writing one…  but some years, all I wished was that I could just write ONE Mother’s Day Card to my REAL MOM…

In elementary school, when we had to do projects for mother’s day, I just quietly did them with the rest of the class.  I would bring it home to my grandmother.  Actually, I don’t even know if my teacher knew that I didn’t have a mom.  Although I felt sad at times, I didn’t let it get to me… I just did what I had to do… and I probably lived a huge chunk of my life just doing what I needed to do…

However, G’s question “do you have a dad?” forever changed how I do ministry.  I have become a lot more sensitive to those kids that may be hurting because they don’t have what other kids have… I started to share the hurts in my life with the kids that I minister to so they can know that my life isn’t perfect and they have someone who understands…  and I DON’T force projects/activities on kids but I try to understand why they don’t want to participate… You never know what hurts and baggage kids carry with them… and I understand that some of these hurts never go away…

Now all three very important women in my life (my mom and both my grandmothers) are all in heaven partying with Jesus.   I’m blessed to have had so many “moms” that cared for me… and I still have my aunts that care for me like a mom, but mother’s day is never an easy one… because even 30 years later, all I want to do is write ONE Mother’s Day Card to my REAL MOM…

If you minister to children, please be sensitive to those that are without a mom on this mother’s day…

with few of my moms: my mom, grandma, 2 aunts, great-grandma (and also my dad & uncle)


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4 thoughts on “when mother’s day hurts…

  1. thanks for making me cry! (not shy to share that i have no problem admitting that) never heard your story until now. even though you’re an old “pro” at getting through mother’s day since the age of eight, this will be my 1st without my mom and the beginning of many more mother’s days without her. she’s partying up in heaven (just like you said) with your mom and other moms that people have lost. that’s the only peace i get is knowing she’s with our Lord. otherwise, it still sucks that’s she’s not here. thanks again for sharing glo. 🙂

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  2. hai-en, one thing i learned is that mother’s day is always gonna suck! the pain never goes away although some years, some birthdays, some new years are easier than others… but when you least expect it, it’ll creep back and it’ll suck more than years past!!! but you said it! our comfort is knowing that our moms are in Heaven and we have the hope of being reunited with them one day… and it’s gonna be ONE BIG WILD PARTY!!!

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