Mother’s Day holds both happy and painful memories for me. My mother passed away suddenly on Saturday, one week before Mother’s Day in 1979. I was thirty-four years old, and I felt that I had lost my greatest security. Mother’s Day that year was extremely difficult for me, coming just a few days after burying my mother. I was grateful for the love of my wonderful mother by marriage as she cared for me and my family.
The next Mother’s Day was not much easier. I remember sitting in sacrament meeting and watching the Primary children sing Mother’s Day songs to their mothers. My three oldest children were among the little ones singing to their mothers, and I was so pleased with their happy, smiling faces and their desires to make me happy. Yet, tears were streaming down my face as my thoughts went to my own angel mother.
Mother’s Day the next year was a little better. However, each Mother’s Day reminds me of how much I love and miss my own mother. Even though I truly enjoy hearing from my own children and grandchildren, my thoughts are mainly on her.
This year is no different, but it adds some different emotions to the mix. My thoughts and feelings this year go to my dearly beloved sister-in-law, and I feel great love, sympathy, empathy, and compassion for her. She buried a fifteen-year-old daughter in September 1973, a task that no parent should ever have to face. I know that thoughts of her daughter are never far away from her mother heart, but I also know that other thoughts will also be there.
My sweet sister has faced much heartache, but this year has been particularly difficult for her. She cared for her husband of 65 years for many months of declining health before he passed away in January 2018. She was a grieving widow, but she was staying strong. However, within days of her husband’s death, her oldest son was diagnosed with lung cancer.
While mourning the death of her husband and dealing with the deaths of two nephews, my sister now faced the approaching death of another child. She spent as much time with her son as she could before he passed away a few days ago. He was buried today, the day before Mother’s Day 2018. Even as I know that thoughts of her son will never be far from her mind, I also know that Mother’s Day will always be a reminder of his death and burial.
My sister is a strong woman who has borne up under much adversity. Some people describe her as being “tough” – and she is. I was seven years old and actually quite scared of her when she married my brother - and for years afterwards. As I became an adult and later a mother and a grandmother, I came to know that her toughness was only a façade that protected her soft heart and tender feelings. I feel certain that her great heart is broken today, and I wonder how much more adversity she can bear.
My heart aches for my dear sister in her new loss, but I know that she finds strength in her faith that she will see her husband and children once again. She knows that her family can be together for all eternity because she and my brother made covenants in the House of the Lord and kept them. She will enjoy her living children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren while here on earth. When her time comes, she will join the growing family circle on the other side and wait for the ones she leaves behind. I hope and pray that she will have the strength to deal with this latest adversity and that she will feel peace on this Mother’s Day and many more to come.