Good morning, everyone.
I feel compelled to write this post this year, perhaps because I have grown more comfortable with being transparent with my readers, perhaps because as I grow up a little more I realize that keeping silent about personal pain does nothing to reach someone else who is walking through it at the same time.
Maybe just because I know that my calling,
my passion… is to encourage.
To lay my life out there for you, and to encourage you to walk through whatever you are facing with grace, and honor, and strength.
Sometimes that is really hard.
And when it comes to facing Mother’s Day, it is doubly hard.
So I am going to be raw with you.
Honest with you.
Transparent with you.
Mother’s Day is not full of happy, lovely memories for me.
While I may get flowers, or a tree, lovely drawings and a nice meal out,
Mother’s Day just plain hurts to celebrate.
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I know that sounds strange.
Many of you are looking forward to being celebrated as MOM.
Perhaps a day off of cooking and cleaning,
perhaps a reminder that you
are just as awesome as you know that you are.
And all those things are wonderful, and good, and uplifting.
But I can not share in them.
Not fully, that is.
What does Mother’s day remind me of?
Empty chairs at the table where my other children should be sitting.
Empty arms that ached to hold babies that I saw
just long enough to say goodbye to,
or only existed long enough to hear a compassionate doctor say :
“It’s a girl.”
“Its a boy.”
Of course, all I heard was “It was………..”
because those children were ushered 
into the arms of the Lord 
before I was able to hold them in mine.
I KNOW I am blessed, please don’t think I don’t recognize that.
I live in that thought all the other moments of my life because it is the insulation that keeps me from thinking about the other parts of my heart that I will never, ever be able to get back.
I don’t need to be told that I am blessed,
or reminded that I am blessed, and honestly,
if my grief makes you uncomfortable,
then squeeze my hand and walk away.
Because while I look at all the shining, beautiful, happy families around me, mine will always….
feel like it is missing pieces of something incredibly precious.
13 pieces, actually.
And when I look into the precious eyes of the three beautiful,
 answers to prayers 
that I have been given to hold in my arms…
I will see someone else’s child….
and always at the back of my mind I will wonder
 what one of mine would have looked like at that age.
It is not something that I can bury along with their bodies.
It is a private pain that I carry deep inside and rarely crack open the door to peek at, or even think about.
Because it just plain hurts too much.
I can’t even answer the question most mothers ask other moms
without being reminded of my losses.
When people ask: “How many children do you have?”
I can not answer.
Do I say, “Three.” and so leave out the ones I hold dear in my heart?
“Sixteen.” and then have to explain?
Or just simply not answer at all and pretend I did not hear the question?
And here is the reason I am sharing 
this deep and endless pain with you.
There are women (and men) just like me, everywhere you will go this weekend.
Remember that sometimes 
grief does not fade with time.
It changes.
It does.
But the loss of a child is one of those things that a mother carries in the deepest recesses of her heart, and she simply can not let it go just because it makes someone else uncomfortable to hear about it.
We can learn to grieve silently.
But we still grieve.
So this Mother’s Day, as you are celebrating with your family, look around you. Do you know someone who might be having a difficult time and is suffering in silence that you can reach out to? Someone that you can pray for? Someone you can just give an extra hug to
without really sharing why you are doing it?
Someone who perhaps just needs to talk about the child that they lost and have someone sit and listen without offering any of the platitudes like:
“They are in a better place now.”
or “You are young, you will have more children!”
or “They are better off where they are.”
or, “This really isn’t healthy, and you need to start moving on.”
A simple and sincere “I’m sorry” does a world of good.
Because we are sorry too.
And we can’t change it at all.
I write this post in the hopes that I can be the voice for some men and women who grieve their way through days like Mother’s Day or Father’s Day.  I am not writing for your sympathy, or for pouring a bucket of Debbie-Downer on your celebration.
I simply wanted to use my time as I have been given it, to reach out and help others to realize that for many people this weekend, and a few others,  are full of pain right alongside the joy we also have with our living children.
Its a hard balance to keep.
But we do.
May you really have a wonderful, blessed weekend,
and may you find someone that you can give that little extra love to….
Blessings to you and yours,
linked up at Walking Redeemed