My grandmother passed away forty years ago, this year.
I never met her.
My mother tells me that my Grandmother was an independent, “modern woman” who lived a fast and confusing life, somewhere between the ideal housewife of the 1950’s and the free spirited, liberated woman of the 1960’s. She died alone in the early 1970’s .
Somehow the build up to mothers day this year has jolted me into considering how painful every mothers day has been for my mother.
How did she cope, not having the love, support and warm words with which she generously lavishes upon us?
How blind, selfish and foolish I feel not having been able to see that every year, every mothers day, behind my own mother’s smiles, lay…years of longing, resentment and pain-filled what ifs. Questions that morph into subtle tears. silence. sighs. grief.
This Mothers day has been one of disorientation and reorientation.
Firstly, this strange disturbance disorientated me. Call it a further step into maturity?…and perhaps it is. I just know that this is the first Mothers Day in close to 36 years, where I have acknowledged how difficult every Mothers day has been for her.
Secondly, this disturbance reorientates me. I welcome this because it leads me to a better understanding and appreciation of my mother’s story. For instance my grandmother of whom I have no memory, a stranger, has an unspoken and immediate impact on who my mother is.
I can relate this to Mary, the cross, the blood, her tears and the blessing of her own gratitude and obedience. Mary’s quiet, grateful-obedience is a crucial part of the good news story!
I have witnessed this same quiet, grateful-obedience displayed in my own mother’s life time and time again. In spite of her painful losses in life, she stands with Father, Son and Spirit, giving of herself out of things she was never given, and being blessed with gifts she never dreamed she would have. She knows that it is only in Christ that we find strength in the midst of weakness.
What makes this short story even more amazing is that my mother has done this without ever complaining or living as a victim, something she could easily have done.
Instead my mum chose to get up and persevere. Even though it cost her, we have been shown a better way because of it. My mother is the embodiment of Paul’s statement to the Corinthians that ‘love hopes all things’. It is for this I that I am grateful, and it is from this that I take this moment in time to thank her.