To the mom with a broken heart…
That’s my oldest son in the picture below. He was maybe six there. When he was little and I was the best thing in the world to him. There was a night when he wouldn’t go to bed without giving me a hug goodnight. He was always my help and would spend time drawing this ships that I saved in a file that are tucked away in my closet now.
I haven’t seen him in six months now.
I realized that sitting in church. Everyone was singing and there I was standing with this massive hole in my heart. You never would have known it from the outside, honestly. You might look at me and think I didn’t have a care in the world. You wouldn’t have known that just over six months ago I let him go live with his dad one thousand miles from me. You wouldn’t know that he barely talks to me and that I haven’t heard his voice, the one that used to say “I love you mom” in that whole time.
You wouldn’t know, if you stood next to me, that there is part of my heart that is broken.
I would almost say it’s hollow. And when something is hollow it’s because there used to be something there that no longer exists there and you just want to fill it.
I miss my son so deeply, my friends.
And as everyone sang I thought.
I thought about how quickly I want to tell myself that I’ve failed. I started wondering what if you had done this? or why didn’t you do that? and why didn’t you fight harder?
My eyes were straining to hold back tears.
And then the words here, now… were on the screen and I realized I only have now.
I have now and tomorrow and this moment.
I can’t change the past, I can do my best now.
It’s not my job to control, but to love.
It’s not my job to get a response, but to show up.
It’s not my job to give up, but keep trying.
It’s not my job to not feel, but to feel.
And so I knew I had to write. I know there are some of you dealing with this broke, hollow space of motherhood and it feels so so lonely.
You are not alone.
You just are not.
Please don’t let the what if I had…. define your now. Because, my friend, you only have now.
You control your now.
Love, give, show up, be real, feel, care.
And don’t let shame define. It is so easy for me to allow the what if of shame to define my motherhood story.
I love my son. So much.
I know many of you have broken hearts. I know that some of you have dealt with death and financial crisis and divorce and relationships and illness and sometimes it leaves a hollow space there. I am so sorry. I just want you to know that maybe you are next to me in line at Starbucks or at church or where-ever and because you are like me, tucking those tears in, I just didn’t know. Please know that I am proud of you for your strength and bravery and showing up.
It really matters.
This isn’t a post to tell you to get over it – this is a post – written out of my heart telling you that I see you.
And I’ve learned, as the quote I penned, to let go of the picture of what I thought life would be like and to find joy in the story today.
This is my story.
It is a story of heartache but good.
A story of pain and triumph
A story of falling and standing up.
And joy is there too.
Today I hope that in me sharing a bit of my story that it will not only provide hope but also a moment where you can release the past just a bit and find joy in your now. I know that sometimes you can feel like you are walking through life with this hollow space, this broken heart and that you are the only one.
If anything else, I hope my rawness, my real, my vulnerability makes you think she gets it and gives you the courage to push forward bravely, fighting for each moment today and for joy in your life again.
Have hope, my friends, have hope.