By Kristin Wilson
When I saw that I was assigned the Mother’s Day blog post after volunteering to write something for StoryHeights back in January, I was incredibly honored, and so excited to tell you all my (well Noah and I’s) story about our desire to become parents and having to learn to wait in God’s time. I had most of the post written in my head right away. I was going to tell you all about how looking back, Sawyer came right when he was supposed to, how early on in our marriage we hit some hardships and really struggled to get our relationship back on track, and how adding a baby into that time of our life would have been a very different situation than the absolute joy we’ve experienced in the last 2 years since becoming parents.
But then my mother died in early February, and everything I wanted to write about to talk about “Mother’s Day” changed. Suddenly, the fact that it took us 3 years to get pregnant and my miserable pregnancy seemed completely irrelevant. My new reality is that I don’t have a mom of my own anymore. I will celebrate this Mother’s day without her.
I lost my mom on February 3, 2020, just over 3 months ago. I had talked to her on Saturday evening and she said she wasn’t feeling well. We figured she maybe had the flu or something, but after she didn’t respond to a text on Sunday or Monday and my sister and aunt had told me they were also trying to get ahold of her, we got nervous. We called the neighbors to go to the house, and unfortunately, when they got there she had passed away on the couch. I can’t stop thinking about everything. How maybe if we had stayed on the phone longer I could have realized it wasn’t just the flu. If we had gone down there, maybe we’d have been able to get her to a hospital and change the outcome. All I know for sure, is that I’ll never know.
Over the last few years since moving to our house in the burbs and finally having a guest room, we were soooo fortunate to get to spend a lot more time with her. She got to come to the hospital to visit her first grandson (she has 2 granddaughters already who live in SC, so the visits had to be more planned out when they arrived). She spent the night alone in our house while we were at the hospital just so she could come back and see us again in the morning before she had to drive back to CT for work. She took time off and came back for Easter (the day we finally got sprung from the hospital) and made us a perfect Easter dinner so we didn’t have to think about a thing but could still celebrate. And since Sawyer’s birth she’d come to visit for random weekends, and she’d be here for all the holidays. I hope many of you got the pleasure of meeting her at one of the SH services.
She retired last January and since her retirement, she went on all sorts of adventures. She really started to live her life. She spent a lot of time with us, she visited my siblings, she saw her own mom and sister in IL several times over that last year. And each time, she’d fly out of Boston for all her adventures and stay with us before and after. She was planning to sell her house and buy a condo on the beach down in Myrtle Beach – away from the snow, closer to my older sister, but further from us. My heart broke when she told us that. I was happy for her of course, but the thought of not having the luxury of seeing my mom once a month, and making a quick trip down to visit her whenever we wanted broke my heart. I cried, and she cried (not something I saw often in my mother). Once she told us that news, we doubled down. I used every opportunity I had to see her and spend time with her. If she needed a ride to the airport bus, I took a long lunch break to drive her myself. Sure, I could have gotten her an uber, but I wanted to cherish every MINUTE I was lucky enough to spend with her. It sounds so cliché, but in my adult years, she really did become my best friend.
Deep down, I think she knew something was wrong. I mentioned to friends a few times over the last year or so that I was worried about her. I think she wanted to spare me and my siblings the worry, the fears, of having to see her in a hospital bed possibly still dying. She went out on her own terms. That’s the essence of my mother.
You’re probably waiting for some inspirational bible verse or something at this point to explain how I’m able to deal with all this pain– and I’ll be totally honest with you – despite being involved with SH for years now, I still can’t quote the bible. I don’t read it as much as I should, and I am still soooo awkward and uncomfortable when I try to pray out loud. And really, I don’t know that there is a bible verse to help a young woman find comfort in In the finality of losing the best mother a person could ever have, of losing a parent, let alone both parents (my dad also passed away unexpectedly on August 1, 2012, but that is another blog post). But I do know that I have this indescribable faith that He is guiding me through this crazy life. I’ve lived a lot of hardship in my very short 34 years. But I try to always find the silver lining. To know that some good has to come from this. Even if that just means that she’s happy now. I know her and my dad are living it up on a tropical beach somewhere drinking bud light and just SMILING down on my siblings and I and the lives we’ve created. And if that is the ONLY reason I find in the next few years, it will have to be enough. It’s going to be a long road ahead – I know because 8 years later I was just starting to settle into a place without my dad. But I am trying to trust God and lean into him more on the hard days.
So I’ll leave you with this – it was the passage we chose for Sawyer’s baby dedication and its applicable here too:
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope for a future.”
– Jeremiah 29.11
I have no idea what the future holds. I know I’m really sad and want nothing more than one more day with my mom. I know Sawyer misses his grandma dearly and talks about her all the time, which is both incredibly sweet and heartbreaking all at the same time. I know Noah is also silently suffering – for even though he has all his parents (birth and step) he loved my mom so and never batted an eye when she came to visit. But I do know, that we will get through this too.
And if Our God is for us, then who can ever stop us?
And if our God is with us, then what can stand against?
Then what can stand against?
– Chris Tomlin
If any of you are struggling with Mother’s Day this year – whether it be because you are DESPERATE for a baby that isn’t coming, whether it’s because you’re fighting with your own mom, or if you too have lost a mother, I am here. You may not know me, but I love making new friends and would welcome you into my circle. And will always be an ear to listen, a shoulder to cry on, or a friend to laugh and smile with. To lift you up when you’re down or celebrate your successes. Because that’s the woman my mom was, and I will continue to be her light in this world.
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This is really beautiful, Kristin, and a testament to your mother and your relationship with her. Sending you love this Mother’s Day and beyond.