I hope everyone had a nice Mother’s Day. Even though my 4 children and I are scattered all over the globe, and I am 5,000 miles away across the ocean, we connected through phone calls and zoom. Since we are still in quarantine, we stayed at home and I had a peaceful, quiet Mother’s Day. I am very grateful for my children and grandchildren and the love and happiness they bring me.
Mother’s Day can be a difficult day for many of us. We may not all have children, but we all have mothers who have birthed us into the world. We may or may not know our biological mothers. Some of our mothers have gone to the other side and we miss them terribly. Some of us have chosen not to have children. Some of us cannot have children and that causes pain in our hearts. Some of us have mothers that are alive, but we don’t have a nurturing relationship with them. Some of us are blessed to have and have had loving relationships with our moms.
It’s not surprising that Mother’s Day may be difficult for so many women and they feel relieved when the day is over. My mother died in 1968 at the age of 44 on New Year’s Day and I was only 20 years old. My children never got to meet their grandmother, nor was she there when I got married.
Because of her alcoholism and illness, we didn’t have a loving, nurturing relationship. We started to have a relationship a year before she died when she went to Alcoholics Anonymous and got sober. Consequently, there were many Mother’s days that I cried and wished she was still alive. I’m grateful that with the grace of God, I have been able to forgive her and often feel her presence in my life, like I did this Mother’s Day. The best gift I have given to my children has been to do my inner work of healing and forgiveness so I don’t pass on the dysfunction to the next generation.
I love how Spirit gives me what I need when I need it, even when I don’t ask. The day before Mother’s Day, I asked Larry to get a box down from the top shelf of my closet. I was looking for my old picture/affirmation book that I prayed with daily when I was writing Simply a Woman of Faith. I thought looking at the affirmation book would give me inspiration while writing our new book.
I didn’t find what I was looking for in the box. Instead, I found the brown, soft cuddly teddy bearthat was tucked away in the bottom of the box. Memories flooded in as I held the teddy bear close to my heart as tears flowed down my cheeks.
Several years ago, I was really missing my mom and asked to feel her presence.
I was in a gift shop on New Year’s Day when I heard the small, still voice of God say: “I have a special gift for you today, be open.” As I walked around the gift shop, I prayed to be led. I didn’t find anything and wondered if I really heard the voice of God or was it my imagination?
I was about to leave the gift store, but decided to take one more look and walked down the baby aisle. I picked up this soft, cuddly brown teddy bear and held it close to my face. When I turned it over, I saw the manufacturer’s tag on the back. HONEY was in big red letters. My mother’s name was HONEY. Here was my gift from my mother. She shows up when I need her the most. That happened about 30 years ago.
Here was my mom “showing up” again for me on Mother’s Day 53 years after her death. I went to bed this past Saturday night with my HONEY cuddly teddy bear close to my heart. I don’t think I will put her back in the box again. I will keep her near as I need to feel my mother’s love and presence every day.
My mother is helping me with my journey to be a vessel of love and to be the best mom, wife and friend I can be. You weren’t able to be there for me growing up, but you are here for me now. Thank you, mom.
Family and friends filled St Helena’s church in the Bronx, New York on a cold and snowy morning January first, 1968. I sat in the front pew anxiously waiting for mom and dad to walk down the aisle as they did twenty five years before. Excitement and anticipation filled the air as we waited for the organist to start playing.
My parents said their final vows to one another and the mass ended. They turned around with big smiles on their faces and started walking back down the aisle. Mom suddenly collapsed and fell to the floor with a loud bang.
My heart raced and my hands sweated as I struggled to hold back the tears. I felt terrified not knowing what was going on. I knelt at the altar, looked up at the cross and prayed.
Please God don’t let my mother die. I need her. My mother died in the church before the fire department arrived. That was over 40 years ago.
Yet, she stills keeps in contact with me – mostly through songs. The music played softly in the background as I sat on my living room couch. I jumped up and turned up the volume to hear the words better. “Honey I miss you and I’m being good. An angel came and took her away.” As I sat on the floor and listened, the tears ran down my cheeks and goose bumps spread across my body. My mother’s name was Honey.
The song Honey by Bobby Goldsboro was written shortly after my mother died over 40 years ago on New Year’s Day. To this day, I still hear the song and it touches me as deeply as it did the first day I heard it. I know its mom communicating with me and letting me know she’s with me.
Being twenty years old when my mother died wasn’t easy, especially when I got married and started having children. When I became pregnant with my third child, I prayed for a little girl and often heard the song Honey during my pregnancy. As the nurses wheeled me into the delivery room, after ten hours of labor, I heard Honey playing over the loud speaker.
Fast forward ten years. A job opportunity opened up for my husband and we jumped at it, even though it was in Rhode Island, hundreds of miles away from where we lived. My husband started his new job in Rhode Island and couldn’t be with us the day we moved. I tearfully said goodbye to my friends and family. The only thing left in the house was the radio on the mantel piece. As I sat on the den floor saying goodbye to the house my children were born in, it finally hit me that we were leaving our friends and family. I suddenly felt afraid and anxious, not knowing what the future would bring. I prayed and asked God for strength and courage. As I sat there quietly praying, I heard Honey playing on the radio. Filled with gratitude and peace, I thanked God, knowing that everything would work out.
My dad died of cancer 10 years ago. I felt helpless watching him suffer and lose his ability to walk and feed himself on his own. He could no longer stay at home as his illness progressed. While in the hospital, the doctors tried to keep him alive with more operations and procedures. My step mom Anne couldn’t accept he was dying and expressed her hopes for his recovery. Depressed and despondent, dad no longer possessed the will to live and would no longer talk to me when I called on the phone. While the doctors discussed yet another procedure at his bedside, he looked up at my step mom and the doctors and screamed. “Leave me alone, I want to go home.” At that moment my step mom’s denial broke and she was finally ready to let him go. A few hours later, he passed away peacefully with her at his side.
I waited anxiously by the phone, pacing back and forth waiting for Anne to call me. “Pat, your dad died fifteen minutes ago.” Dead silence that seemed like an eternity. “I’m so sorry……… Are you all right?” I asked. “He suffered so. He’s out of pain now.”
I hung up the phone and cried as I rocked in the rocking chair by myself. Later, I walked around my house in a daze, not wanting to believe that he was dead. God, I’m alone now. With both mom and dad dead, I feel like I’m an orphan. I needed to get some fresh air and clear my head. I took a walk and looked up in the sky and said, God please allow me to feel my dad’s presence.
I dragged myself to the consignment shop to look for a dress to wear for the funeral. I couldn’t concentrate and half heartedly looked through the racks of clothing trying to find a dress. And then…..Honey began playing on the radio. I stood frozen in place for a few minutes, then put my face in my hands and sobbed. The owner of the shop walked over to me. I looked up when she asked,“Are you alright? What’s wrong?” “My father just died,” I blurted out through sobs and tears. I explained to her about the significance of the song Honey that had just played on the radio.
I know my mother is with me even though it has been over 40 years since she died. I feel her presence and love, especially when I need her the most. She shows up in the most unexpected places.
A Chapter from Pat’s book, Simply a Woman of Faith
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