The Mother’s Day flowers still arrive every Saturday afternoon from the local florist shop. Before I had children, my mother always sent flowers to me because, she said, she wouldn’t be a mother without me.

Years later, as another Mother’s Day approached, I had a baby to go with the day and planned an ocean-side stroll, followed by brunch. The temperature was around 72 degrees, the sun was shining and the birds were singing their little hearts out. We were a Hallmark card in motion.

As my husband guided the stroller toward the outdoor café, our captivating Gap-attired baby began to scream and did not stop until we begrudgingly walked back to the car and headed home. When we pulled into the driveway, Prince Charming was sound asleep with a slight smile on his face. How could he ruin my day like that? I had it all so perfectly planned.

Nothing is ever what it seems, or what we think it is going to be, especially motherhood.  We may take it for granted — and then something happens that makes all the little things seem silly.

After my son died, Mother’s Day transformed into something different. As everyone was making plans for the special day with their children, I had a loss that pulled me as if it were a riptide. And like a riptide, no matter how hard I tried to move towards shore, it wouldn’t let me.

Knowingly and with a profound love, my mother sent flowers.

I have learned a lot since the death of my child. One is to stay connected to my child. One Mother’s Day, I wrote a letter to my child, expressing all the things I loved and all the things that drove me nuts. Balance is truth, freeing and grounding.

Listen to counselors, listen to friends, mediate, read and pray. And remember, your best weapon for healing is staying connected to your child on a soul level. Today, remember that the little one that made you that Mother’s Day card years ago is the same child that made you the brave, beautiful warrior you are today.

I am as sure of this as I am of my Mother’s Day flowers, arriving Saturday afternoon.

Vicky Bates 2011

Vicky Bates

Vicky Bates

After 18 years of marriage and career, we decided to adopt two babies. My oldest had many health issues which after 10 years led to a fatal anaphylactic shock. I believe that my spiritual beliefs helped me understand that the tragedies we face challenge us to confront our pain and slowly work through it. That is what I did through helping with hospice and watching the process of transition for the dying and seeing that even in the hardest times the gentle kindness of humor is a necessary tool.

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