Susan Duke, a bereaved mother and amazing author, closed our retreat with a powerful word; evidence.
I honestly dislike very much that I am in need of a retreat for bereaved mothers, but these retreats, A Hole in My Heart and Haven of Hope, have been vital to my healing.
Friday night we gathered around a warm fireplace and shared our tear filled stories. One by one each mother spoke. As I listened to each story I was amazed at the amount of strength and courage. I am in awe of the honesty. We pass tissue and offer a warm touch as each mother shares. We cry together, we laugh together. Sacred. Holy. Hope. Anger. Joy. EVIDENCE. One hundred percent proof positive that yes you can do this. Yes, you are allowed to step out of the dark corner that grief shoves you into or you are allowed to stay there awhile.
As I sit on the warm stone of the fireplace and listen to each story:
Ten moths, two years, five years, sixteen years time is relevant with a mothers soul that grieves for her child.
The soul of a bereaved mother is so tenderly sacred. Her soul silently screams in the midst of the storm, knowing that during the chaos of the storm she must carry on.
Sixteen woman silently wailing from the pain of loss.
Tears stream, how are our bodies able to produce so many?
Strong is a weak verb it doesn't even touch the amount of strength that each of us exhibit.
A mother who spends years in a courtroom, listening to testimonies of the ones responsible for her daughters death. She sits in silence, her eyes scan the pictures of her daughters death. She stays, she is her daughters voice, her courage comes from deep within. A courage that is sacred, not many will ever touch that courage.
Mother's making calls to the coroner. Is my daughter's body ready yet? How do I get her to the funeral home? Oh God, this is real.
Mother's who forgive.
The late night phone call. The collapse, gravity can't withstand the pressure as the waves of shock propel through your body.
Doctor's diagnoses, TOD, begging, pleading for second, third, forth opinions. It can't be real. Decisions that must be made. "Pull the plug" the audible screams are quiet compared to the piercing yells from within.
A mom holding her only child's warm body until it becomes cold.
These sacred moments are shared and as each story wraps around my heart, I remember that I too have a story.
Sixteen woman, each story as individual as a finger print, one commonality; EVIDENCE.
An awakening of your soul as your eyes open that very next day, it has to be, God knows it's not your physical strength. Moments begin to happen. You smile again, it may take days, weeks, months, years. You begin to wrap your heart around the tender mercies from God. You reach out to troubled souls, you see beyond the shell. Ministries form from the ashes. We love with compassion, not just for show. We weep in the dark, we weep on the baby aisle. Tears fall as we send our sacrifice of praise to our Father. Lord knows we don't feel the "blessings" of God. Our faith comes from beyond a felt emotion, it is our Spirit Man. Years go by, the world forgets, you don't, not even for a moment. The silent wailing never leaves, but as the wound of death becomes a scar you are eased of the pain if only for moments. These moments are never forsaken in these moments we see life in color again, we feel joy.
Sixteen bereaved mothers.