I feel a mixture of joy and some sadness today, on this Mother's Day of 2021.
You see, yesterday, I watched with grief as my first cousins, once removed, buried their mother in southern Illinois at the church graveyard where other deceased family members are buried.
She died with her family around her, well aware of how much she is loved.
This beautiful lady, my great aunt N, touched lives far and wide with her shine. The family members who spoke at random at the funeral yesterday gave a far better eulogy for her life than any polished orator could have done.
They spoke from a place of love, and of being loved, by their mother, grandmother, aunt, great aunt, or first cousin once removed, however she was known by those gathered in that room.
Naturally, the deep recesses of my mind are swirling with thought as I contemplate the ways women give life, not just in giving birth, but in nurturing, feeding, molding, and fostering life around them.
Giving life can manifest in encouragement or help to someone in need; a listening ear for a hurting person; a smile--especially on a dreary day; calm speech instead of a torrent of bitter, angry words; a genuine interest in people; in the many unheralded acts of kindness and thoughtfulness that mark a generous person.
Great Aunt N lived a life worthy of emulation.
I suppose that is the best eulogy of all.
I don't want to leave this writing without mentioning how much I love and appreciate my mother and mother-in-law, and the mothers before them. Being a mother now has opened my eyes to the tremendous sacrifice every normal mother makes to care for and raise her children to be good, productive people who can think and act for themselves.
Having lost babies, I hurt for the many women who are missing beautiful faces in their family photos because of miscarriage or stillbirth, or who wish more than anything to fill those family albums with their own pictures of their own little ones when they haven't been able to have them.
I cry with many of my friends and members of my family whose mothers are deceased. I can only imagine the void it creates when your very own mother is no longer there to hug and talk with.
And not to be swallowed in sadness all day, I thank God for my children, our friends' children, and all the people, young and old, he has put in our lives in any capacity as a way to give life--at home, at school, at work, and among our community.