I’m over the hill . . . and picking up speed. I recently had another birthday. They seem to come around faster and faster the older we get, do they not? In addition to my birthday, the calendar reminds me of another celebration we soon face ~ Mother’s Day. Perhaps you, too, have a hard time with this holiday if you mourn the loss of a precious child. If you have other children at home, they probably still want to celebrate the day. Bless them. I know it’s hard. For me personally, it’s a day I would just as soon ignore.
The May holiday for mothers reminds me of a story. May I share it with you, for no other reason than to, perhaps, coax a smile to our often tearful faces? Please note. This was not funny at the time. Now, I can smile when I think of it. I smile because it is among my treasure of memories ~ back in a time when I had two boys, not one. Back to a time of innocence, where suicide was an unfamiliar word. Sadly, too many of you know the truth of these words.
Instead of the usual incidents occurring when my children were young and underfoot, this story took place when they had “suddenly and without warning” sprouted into teenagers. Remember those years? Gone were the simple, sweet days of childhood. Also gone were the days when I could get my boys to help with household chores. It seemed as soon as there was work to be done, they magically became escape artists. Their lives were consumed with activities perceived more important than what I had in mind, and out the door they’d go. About the same time, they became legal to drive and had jobs after school. I was not likely to see them until evening. Factor in holidays and special events . . . other than their own birthdays . . . and they might be “too busy” to buy a card in celebration, or, bare bones, share good wishes, if not given a strong hint to do so.
Many a year, come the month of May, I was left to wonder: will this be the year one of my men forget? Such was the case this particular Mother’s Day. Down to the wire, per usual, greeting cards were slow to materialize. At the last minute, my younger son, with a sheepish grin on his face, swooped in with a card and tossed it within my reach. I was both relieved and touched, until I opened the card . . . and read this message inside: “You are almost like a mother to me. “What??!! Almost?? What on earth do you mean by “ALMOST like a mother to me”?? I could have smacked him upside the head in an attempt to knock some sense into him!
From distant memory, his explanation went something like this: “Well, uh, there weren’t any good ones left to choose from, and uh, I knew you’d be upset if I didn’t, uh give you something . . . sorry.” It wasn’t terribly funny then, nor was I very understanding of his plight, but now, it has become a funny moment in my memory. I shake my head. It is a reminder that kids, of all ages, exceed our expectations, both pleasurable and not so pleasurable.
Switching gears, I can think of one example where “almost” would be a wonderful relief. Those of us on a grief journey from the loss of a beloved child to suicide, or any other cause, would welcome an “almost”. For suicide an “almost” would mean the attempt had failed. Our child would be given another chance at life.
“Almost” provides relief. Completed does not. The “C” word is all too familiar to survivors of suicide.
Hopefully there are many parents who are able to pull their children back from the brink, saving them from becoming a suicide statistic. Bless you! I know you are eternally grateful. If you happen to read this post, I pray that your child is also grateful for a second chance at life and will find ways to live it to the fullest.
On the other hand, I bear the scars of a suicide statistic. My firstborn completed his attempt. There was no one around to stop him . . . this time. Yes. Previously, he had been given a second chance at life. He took it. We were so relieved and grateful. I held my breath and prayed for him constantly. His life continued on for years, so many so, that I mistakenly thought his troubles were behind him. Alas, they must have continued in a slow simmer, or started up again. I ache to the bone that he is no longer a part of my life.
Aren’t we glad we aren’t almost daughters of God, or almost friends of His Son, Jesus? Spiritually speaking, almost is nothing, nil, zero. How thankful I am that God doesn’t almost save His children. He really has!
“Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish!” Ephesians 2:8-9 MSG
PS – I was recently reminded, once again, of this all-to-familiar family trait when hubby went to the store to buy me a birthday card. In the process he somehow got confused and returned home with a greeting card, which read beautifully until the last line . . . “Happy Birthday, Mom!” Mom??!! Sigh. What can I say? The apples, in this family’s orchard, certainly don’t fall far from the tree.
Verse shared from The Message