We are in the beautiful season of holidays where we have just honored mothers last month and will honor fathers this weekend. As you probably know from some of my previous posts, I lost my dad last year. It was one of the hardest things I've ever gone through. I discussed in a previous post (LINK) about how to help friends and loved ones who have lost, and mentioned specific days that are hard. While Mother's Day and Father's Day are beautiful times of celebration for many, they carry some expected moments of grief for others. Each year as Mother's Day and Father's Day draw near, the evidence is everywhere. Every advertising email reminds us to get a gift for Mother's Day or Father's Day. Every commercial is full of ideas for Mother's Day and Father's Day gifts. Even Food Network shows offer meal ideas in abundance. Grocery stores will even have manly food on sale as Father's Day approaches. It's everywhere.
If you know someone who has lost their mother or father this year, or ever, I challenge you to pray for them! They (counselors, fellow grievers, grief books and blogs) say the first year of every holiday is the worst. Father's Day for me last year felt like a different kind of worse. It's sort of like waiting for a category five hurricane to hit or waiting for a tornado to pass while hiding in your bathroom when the sirens go off. It's heavy. It's scary. I read this from a blog by someone who lost their dad ten years ago:
"Ever since, I have felt the most raw and exposed on Father's Day and on the anniversary of the day he died, Feb. 15. It's like a wild hunger. No amount of time could ever fully heal the pain. Father's Day, in particular, will always make that hole inside me feel deeper because my loss becomes a lot more obvious. While everyone else is gathering to show their love for their dad, I am in mourning." (from The Globe and Mail)
And he wrote that ten years after losing his dad. So remember the motherless and fatherless in your life this Mother's Day and Father's Day season. Celebrate! Enjoy your mom and dad. Love them. Buy them a gift no matter how silly or last minute it is. Make him or her their favorite cake, even if it's from a box. Tell them you love them. Take a picture with each of them, you probably don't have enough. Call them often. Do anything and everything you can. And when you're done enjoying every possible moment with your mom and dad you can, pray for us - the motherless and fatherless, the widows; the ones without their sons, daughters, brothers, and sisters.
And if my plea and words aren't convincing enough, I'm pretty sure the Heavenly Father is okay with you thinking and praying for us too.
"For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing." Deuteronomy 10: 17-18
"When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow, so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. When you beat the olives from your trees, do not go over the branches a second time. Leave what remains for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow. When you harvest the grapes in your vineyard, do not go over the vines again. Leave what remains for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow." Deuteronomy 24:19-21
"But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted; you consider their grief and take it in hand. The victims commit themselves to you; you are the helper of the fatherless." Psalm 10:14
"A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling." Psalm 68:5
"Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed." Psalm 82:3
"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." James 1:27
If you're motherless or fatherless during this Mother's Day and Father's Day season, grieve the way you need to! If you need to skip church and the special service every church will inevitably have, you have permission. Take your Bible somewhere else and spend some time with Jesus. He knows you're hurting. Take at least a moment in the day to let the Heavenly Father love you. Cry, weep, mourn. And then if you're up for it, remember. Remember her. Remember him.
I likely won't be going to church again this year on Father's Day either. Or to Starbucks - too many people that might see me cry. I'll probably go to a coffee shop that's a little quieter on Sundays, spending time with my Heavenly Father on my own. I'll cry. And then I'll remember with people who can handle it and understand that it's okay to be sad and happy at the same time. The mother of the son who wrote the blog post I quoted earlier puts a yearly memorial in their local paper that reads, "My happiness is filled with sadness without you to share it with."
Grieve the way you need to! If that means being alone, it's okay! But if you don't want to be alone, surround yourself with people who will remember with you.
Let's make our own rules,
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