With the sanctuary lights up and the pastor in the pulpit, they stand. They tower above me like a forest. A forest of women. I am small. An unimportant insect. Applause breaks out.
It isn’t for me. It has never been for me.
This is perhaps the most difficult moment of Mother’s Day. It is the deafening sound of a silent scream – I am not a mother! A nice alternative would be to be seated beside my own mother. To applaud for her. But she is dead. Dead. It is the loudest unspoken word in the church.
Mother’s Day is one of those days we get through somehow. How do we manage without our mothers? Perhaps we bask in the appreciation of our children. But what if we are childless?
I stood up in the church one Mother’s Day. Seated along the fringe of the sanctuary this time, away from friends, I felt inconspicuous. I felt raw. I stood for the beloved dog I’d lost only days before. He’d been like my child for 15 years. I grieved him as a mother for a child. I missed the earthy smell of his fir. I missed the sound of his breath.
On that Mother’s Day, I was a grieving mother. A mother of an angel in heaven.