Mother’s Day Is Bitter Sweet

Since Mother’s Day is coming up, I was thinking about all the wonderful women who are a part of me and who I am so grateful for. Thank goodness we have set days in the year to think about special things in our life- otherwise we may pass over some of our greatest blessings. There are so many ladies I’m thankful for, but one in particular is on my mind today…

On Mother’s Day last year I looked down the bench at church to see all of our kids. Mothers Day is bitter sweet at my home. To some this day was great- I, their mother, was sitting right next to them and this day didn’t really phase them. They sang the songs about moms and listened to the speakers like any other week. (Which means they probably weren’t listening at all!) Then I looked at the other faces of our kids on the bench and saw sadness. It broke my heart, like it does every year. These three kids are Matt and Amanda’s kids who I now consider my own- by some miracle. They lost their mom nearly 7 years ago to esophageal cancer- a rare cancer of the tube that runs from the throat to the stomach. Amanda fought each day to spend just one more day as a mother and a wife.

I feel lucky to have known Amanda. We worked in a church calling together, so I had stopped by her home and spoken to her quite a few times. I remember praying for her as many did who lived in our surrounding neighborhood who heard she was going through this health issue for 18 months. I also remember the call I received telling me she had passed away- it was my brother’s birthday, so the date stuck with me. I was so sad for her family. I recall so distinctly driving past their home on the morning of her funeral and wondering how her husband and kids could possibly go through this day. I couldn’t imagine. Surprisingly, two months later I found out myself when my husband passed away. It was devastating.

I describe Amanda as quietly confident. She was easy to be around, smart, positive and had a sweet peace about her. Matt had stickers made for her that people placed on their cars. It said WILLPOWER. Yes, that describes what she and her family were all about.

Her family, including her parents and siblings, have welcomed me with open arms and I see Amanda in them. I know this is an extremely hard thing for them to go through. I do know loss, but I have never lost a sibling, child or a parent, so I really have no idea what that is like. But even through their loss, they are so loving to me and my 6 kids. I can’t be around her sister without crying because she treats me like gold. It shows me what kind of person Amanda was by how her friends and family embrace me.

I feel very fortunate to be the one to raise her amazing kids and sometimes I wonder why?  Well I believe the heavens made it so. Madie says she prayed me here. Now if that doesn’t make me want to be the best parent ever- I don’t know what would. I feel a great responsibility to be uplifting to Amanda’s children since I am in the position she desperately fought to be in. I feel Amanda’s presence in our home and know she is still a part of their lives. This life I am living is truly a humbling and spiritual experience.

In memory of Amanda LyonsOne of our Mother’s Day traditions is to go to the cemetery. Years ago none of us would have ever guessed that this would be part of our day.

 

In a few weeks is Father’s Day and the tables are turned. It’s my kids who have the heavy hearts and somber faces as I look down the church bench. They will be missing their dad. I also know that they have a wonderful man who has stepped up to be a good “dad” and I feel blessed every day for Matt in my life. Once again, we will visit the cemetery.

In memory of John Adamson

So to you, my friends, don’t take Mother’s Day for granted. Even if you haven’t reached out in a long time– tell the women in your lives how grateful you are for them. You never know if this is the last chance you will get to. Take the time to show your love!

Happy Mother’s Day to all moms in heaven and on earth. A special Mother’s Day shout out to my mom because she has had the most influence in my life and I am grateful for her every single day!

 

In memory of Amanda Lyons 1967 – 2008

 

 

 In July of 2008 the unimaginable happened. My husband passed away at age 40, and I became a single mom of 6 kids. Two of my daughters were in class at school with kids from a family that had lost their mom in May. All four kids came up with a brilliant idea and decided we should get together as families because we were going through the same thing. If there is such a thing as “family dating”, we did it- all 11 of us for months.  Today I am happier than I have ever been. Matt and I have 9 children all together. With this large blended family brings more experiences, challenges, and mouth dropping moments!

Now that I am healing, I have come back to personal blogging and writing openly about my past, my now and the future I want to create. Some people say I have lived a hard life, but I say it’s a life full of experience and I wouldn’t be who I am today without them. Others have asked me why I am writing it now and the answer is I feel compelled to do so. I agree- it would be easier to just march forward, but in the past are my lessons that I don’t ever want to forget. My hope is that my thoughts will give confidence to others knowing their trials can have a positive outcome, even though it may not feel like it at the time.

I am grateful for life-changing, profound experiences of loss, love and light.

 

Stand up and Live

spouse committed suicide 2008

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