I spent last Mother’s Day feeling very empty. It had only been three months since we had lost Audrey— the pain was still fresh and all-consuming. I didn’t know how to approach the day because in my heart I knew I was a mother, but with no baby to care for, I didn’t feel like I was.
I felt slightly guilty because in the short time I did have my baby, I had no idea how to care for her. I just sat there by her side praying for her and singing to her. But I longed so much to take away her pain, to make her all better, to hold her in my arms and tell her it would be okay. The feeling of not being able to fix it left me feeling helpless.
Since Audrey’s passing, I realized that I was not the only mom who had this feeling. Justin and I have moms too; and not only were they having to watch their grandchild suffer, they were having to watch us suffer too.
Our sweet mothers let themselves be vulnerable in sharing not only with us their journey with grief but they were also willing to share it with you. They both had to come to terms with the fact that sometimes moms can’t “fix it.”
Justin’s mom, Wendy:
I grieved tremendously that we lost Audrey, but I grieved even more for Justin and Emily that they had to lose her, that they had to go down this path, this journey. There was nothing that I could do to “fix it”. While Audrey is undoubtedly in heaven with God, Justin and Emily will always, in some way, miss her and grieve for her the rest of their lives. There will always be a little void reserved for Audrey. She was their first child and a very real part of their lives. As their mom, I ache, tremendously, for Justin and Emily and would, if I possibly could, want to take their hurt away, to “make things better”. I know that I can’t and that’s hard. I know that this is their loss. I know that nothing nor anyone can take their pain away. God is their Healer. He is their Comforter. He is their Hope. He is their Anchor. He is their Rock. I love Justin and Emily so much and pray that they will always cling together to God, allowing Him to carry them through this terrible heart ache and loss.
My mom, Liz:
Once Emily was overdue with Audrey, it began to get hard. I was worried and had such a bad feeling, but I couldn’t say anything in fear I would scare Emily. As a parent, the hardest thing is to watch your child in pain. I wished and prayed that if anything bad had to happen that God could let it happen to me and not my child, please not my child. I just wanted Emily to have those beautiful sweet moments that I still cherish as a mom. Holding her sweet baby girl, smelling her head, kissing her warm cheeks when she first wakes up. I felt so much pain— pain for Emily and Justin. As a mom, so much of our life is taking care of our kids and now the worst thing possible has happened and there is nothing I can do. I learned that I can’t always help, protect, or make things better for my kids— I have to give them over to the only one who can, God. It was very humbling to see how completely Justin and Emily were able to do this. I learned so much from them.
Both of our mom’s felt what I felt— they couldn’t bear to watch their children suffer but also had to come to terms that they couldn’t fix it.
So what do we do when we can’t fix it? We give it to God and trust in Him. I began to realize that my praying over Audrey was the best thing I could do. I gave her suffering up to Him, the one who does have the power to take it away. I trusted Him to take care of her, and although He took away her pain in a way different than I had imagined, I am still so grateful I had Him to turn to and I know He did what was best for Audrey.
Losing Audrey has changed how I mother Story. I am ashamed to admit that while I was pregnant with Audrey, asking God to watch over her sometimes came as an afterthought. I didn’t feel the urgent need to give her over to God. But now after losing Audrey, I have become acutely aware of my inability to protect my children, but also ever more aware of the access I have to rely on a God who can. So, I am constantly asking God to watch over Story. To keep her safe, to take away her pain—even if her pain is just from a little constipation. I pray to Him because I know He cares and is the only one who can.
The Lord is righteous in all his waysPsalm 145: 17-18, NIV
and faithful in all he does.
The Lord is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.
I am so thankful that God showed me the need to trust Him and to give our children up to Him. Through this Story can grow up knowing that God is watching over her and that she can call on Him in times of need.
I look up to my mom so much, she has tirelessly raised three girls and now she is helping us raise and love on our own children. She has been brave for us and strong for us, in times when I’m sure it was hard. I know Justin’s mom has done the same. Most importantly, because they knew they lacked the ability to take our pain, they relied on God to take care of us and also taught us to trust in Him.
Being a mom is not for the faint of heart. We want the best for our kids, we want them to live safe and pain-free lives, but we live in a fallen world where pain is unavoidable. Just as we have been dragged through the muck of pain and suffering, our children will too. It is up to us to prepare them for this. To show them that they have a God who they can turn to, who can pull them out of the mire and place them on solid ground. I, as their mother, may not be able to do anything to guard my children from pain and that’s hard, but I can certainly point them to know the one who will be all they need.
I feel so blessed and honored that I am among the ranks of women who endlessly put others before themselves, who stand up tall and strong against the darkness of the world and continually point to the One who can bring the light.
Happy Mother’s Day to these women, some of whom face today with empty arms and a hurting hearts. You all deserve to be celebrated.
With Love, Emily
One thought on “Fixing the Pain”
Emily, thank you for sharing your second mother’s day story. I also appreciated Wendy’s and Liz’s perspectives. Rest assured, we love you, Justin, and your daughters dearly!