As one of the authors in Journeys to Mother Love, I’ve been eager to read the stories of the other eight authors in the compilation. I could particularly relate to the story, “When I Feel Forsaken,” by Catherine Lawton. My story, “Walking My Mother Home,” is about the final two years of my mother’s life and the healing I received ministering to her during that time.
When I read the passage in Cathy’s story about the death of her mother, I took note of how it affected her. Cathy’s mother died when Cathy was 28 years old, before she was ready to lose her. She wrote that now she’d “never be able to know her mother as a person” and develop an adult “friendship” with her. Those words struck me. Although my mother lived to an old age of 78 years, I had “lost” her emotionally when I was only six, after she had a nervous breakdown. Like Cathy, I never got to know her as a person, yet I never thought of it in those terms until I read her words.
That is the beauty of telling our stories—the good and the bad. They can impart a nugget that we don’t expect for someone else. Those nuggets can be life-giving.
My mother wasn’t someone I could ever share my inner most thoughts or feelings with. Because she couldn’t model that for me, I didn’t know I was supposed to do that with her or with others until much later in life. By then, my mother was too far gone mentally for us to communicate in that way. Fortunately, like Cathy, I had other women who “mothered” me and helped me to get my emotional needs met.
As sad as it may seem to realize what I missed from my mother (not knowing her as a person), I also realized two positive outcomes in the process. Over the past few years of my mother’s life, I wrote letters to her. Although she couldn’t write back, I think she was getting to know me as a person. She must have recognized this as a gift because she was very attentive during my visits, even after all those years of my abandonment of her.
Secondly, I realized that the Lord did give me a mother who I have been able to know as a person. I’ve had a stepmother in my life since my divorced father remarried 38 years ago. I never lived with them or called her “mom.” But we have become close. We know each other in a way that I never got to know my own mother. It’s been a life-giving and healing relationship.
There were other parts of Cathy’s story that resonated with me as well, but I mention the above nuggets to show the value of sharing our stories. I gained an insight about myself and my journey from reading Cathy’s story. I know God wants me to integrate that into my heart for my own healing.
So I invite you into community with me and the other eight authors of this compilation. Your stories are important. You have a voice. Let the Lord use your story to inspire or bless someone else in an unexpected way.
Pick a story from one of the nine authors in Journeys to Mother Love. How did you relate to that story? Or share your own story.
~ Ardis A. Nelson