Saturday, May 08, 2010

Mother's Day Epistle

I have a lot of thoughts and feelings regarding Mother's Day this year- more than usual. My heart and mind have been heavy since the death of my grandmother last month. I have written some about it, but much more remains waiting to be unearthed, excavated and put to good use, aired out in this forum. Exposed so as to grow, flourish, and not forget. These moments, those of great importance-events like births and deaths- give us the rare opportunity to gain insight. A glimpse of the eternities so that we may gain a better perspective while on earth. These times can awaken in us a new commitment and a better understanding of ourselves and our purpose.
It was such a tender mercy that we were all able to assemble together, literally at her bedside as Grandma died. Many more gathered for the funeral and it was a fine group. As we all paid homage to this person, so influential and inspiring in our lives, it was wonderful to see her children share a devotion and love unmatched. All 5 of her children gathered around. There were no estrangements, no bitter words, grievances, resentments, or anger. Only love, compassion, and gratitude. Her children, 5 very different people, loved her.
{taken several hours after Grandma died.}
It struck me that it was not mere happenstance that this was the case. It was not coincidental or luck that she had wonderful relationships with all of her adult children-she made it so. She considered motherhood a divine station and her life and attitudes reflected that. She was a woman without formal education, training, certifications, or awards, yet her influence is far-reaching. She nurtured and taught her children, and did what needed to be done without the need to be petted or praised for her work. I was often the beneficiary of her love and kindness as one of her darlings, but I am especially thankful because she was a mother to my mother. She, the finest example in womanhood, taught and raised my mother to be an exemplary woman of Christlike attitudes, generosity, and love. Then it was my mother's turn, and she raised my sister, brother, and I. We cannot escape life without the influence of our mother in nearly every aspect, and if we are doing it right, we wouldn't want to. We owe ourselves, quite literally to our mothers, as they gave birth to us. However, we owe a part of ourselves to them as well. We are molded and shaped by their teachings. We learn how to love one another and serve- and eventually we learn what it means to be a mother ourselves.
 At her funeral, we all gathered in the Relief Society room greeting all who came to share condolences with the family. Then everyone left us alone, the family, to say a prayer together before the funeral. I had never attended a funeral before- we had only a graveside service for Lola- so everything was new to me. I was composed as we finished the prayer given by Milton, Grandpa's nephew. Then they wheeled the casket out of the room, down the hall to the chapel as we, her family and posterity, filed after her. I was aware of the significance as we followed behind her down the hall, as we did in all things. I felt blessed to be in her wake. Then I was surprised to see, as her casket entered the chapel, everyone in attendance stood, some 200+ people. I was completely undone. As the crowd stood to show respect as she passed by, I was so awed to be following in her presence. Honored to be counted among those filing through the chapel, those blessed to be born as her posterity. I felt nothing short of honor and the deepest gratitude to be her granddaughter at that moment. The tears flowed freely as I tried to compose myself, and came freely once more when the service was over and we followed her out, as again the crowd stood.
{Posterity. The evidence of one woman's life.}
I want to follow her in all things. I want to be able to feel the honor of association and follow her in the eternities. I do not have an earthly memory of Christ, or my direct and physical relationship with Him, but my grandma was the closest thing I know to it, so I will hold onto that memory. The yearning of wanting to be reunited with her, and follow in her ways. Her influence has stretched to my mother, who has stretched to me, and onto my daughters as well. This Mother's Day I am committing to mothering with intent. I am trying to keep the eternal perspective that I glimpsed that day as I was honored to be among my own mother. I want my girls to love me the way my mother loved hers, and I want them to know that all of the good things I am, I learned from my mother, who learned it from hers.
Happy Mother's Day Mom- I owe my life to you, to grandma, and countless other women who have shown me the beauty and divinity of motherhood.


charlotte said...

I see the UN at work here! You and me, definitely on the same wavelength. I love how regardless of our ages or various stages in life, the women in our family can connect to each other through womanhood. I love how Grandma's influence ripples through generations and how her life of faithful womanhood and motherhood made possible for all of us to be eternally bound to one another. Mother's Day is truly a celebration for all the women in our lives! I love you, Jess!

michelle said...

This is just beautiful. I agree with all of your sentiments here, and especially find strength in your last paragraph.

We just have so many wonderful women in our family to celebrate, don't we?

emily said...

So beautiful. So many of the things you say bring back powerful memories and feelings in new ways. Thank you for this tribute.

Hannah said...

That picture at the bedside of your grandmother made me tear up. What a emotional moment you captured. Great tribute.

Susan said...

I'm not sure what happend that I did not see this when you posted it! I just stumbled on it tonight. It was perfect, as I had really been missing my dear mother more than ever the last few days.

Such a beautiful tribute to my mother. She was a wonderful woman in every way. It's a bit daunting to think of ever being the woman that she was, but it's a goal to stretch for. She taught me much, actually the finest things that I know. I miss her so.

What a nice surprise to find. Thank you. xoxoxo

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