Monday, May 15, 2017

Still Mothering Her

The only motherhood I've ever known is mothering a grave. A legacy. It makes me as a mom feel quite out of place, especially on Mother's Day.

I hold my daughter in my heart, rather than my arms.

I have no other living children on Earth with me to help ease the pain and ache. My motherhood is invisible to the world.

My "parenting decisions" are things like deciding what sort of headstone I wanted for Lily. Did I want it flat or upright? What did I want it to say? What words did I want permanently etched in stone? What special things should I take to the cemetery where she's buried when I go up to Virginia to visit soon?

I must imagine what my own child might be like. How she might look. Who she might have become in these past 7 years.

What is it even like to look at your child in their eyes? Blue eyes. That's what I truly believe she had. Blue eyes like her mama. She looked just like a mini-me.

My daily reality consists of loving a precious princess that I never got to know past 40 weeks 2 days. Instead of thinking what I can do for my daughter, I think of how I can honor her. I think of how I can be a mom to her, without her here. I pour out my heart to her on my blog. I share the same select photos of her over and over. I go to remembrance walks and candlelight ceremonies, release butterflies, eat all things red-velvet, plant a garden, take photos of lilies, make hospital comfort boxes.

How many different ways can I say, I miss her. I miss who she would have become. I miss who she might've been in the future. How many different ways can I say, this is hard. How many different ways can I say, I am thankful still. And the Lord is good, always.

Lily is still very much a part of my every day, which is demonstrated in all the ways I honor her. And with each person who remembers her with me. A friend remarked a few days ago on how special it is that so many people around the world remember Lily with me. And it truly is a HUGE gift. With each photo sent my way, it validates my motherhood. It silently speaks that Lily's life matters. With each gesture of remembrance, it's as if God is saying, "you are a mother, her mother, and you will mother her in Heaven in all the ways you didn't get to on Earth."

When I post photos of Lily's name around the world, or share my heart about her publicly, know that I am not dwelling on something sad or "not moving forward." I am moving forward. And my final destination is Heaven... where she is. She is ahead of me, in my future and in my forward. When we live across the country/world from those we care about, we miss them, right? We don't stop loving them, thinking of them, and wanting to see them. Instead we long for the time we will see them again... So it is with Lily. We have a long-distance mother-daughter relationship, so to speak. But the separation hurts for now. Even when we know we will see someone again, it hurts to be apart. She is not just "a thing that happened to me" in my past. SHE IS MY CHILD, whom I will always dearly love. And I am STILL A MOTHER. Her mother. My motherhood might look different than most, but it's mine, and it's real. ❤️ 

This photo and post was shared as a part of multiple projects for Mother's Day... the Mother Hearts Project, where we take a photo of our hand over our heart to signify how we carry our children in our hearts. Also, the Still Mothering project, where mothers without any living children got this t-shirt that says "mother" on it to share what our motherhood looks with the world, and to show that we are still mothers. And lastly, I'm sharing this as part of Motherhood Rewritten, where a "community of women who have lived Mother's Day outside what culture claims as the norm" share their stories. In the photo, I am wearing a necklace with Lily's photo on it, and am obviously holding her foot and handprint. #stillmothering #thisisstillmotherhood #wearestillmothers #MotherHeartsProject #MotherhoodRewritten #icarryherheartinmine


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