Love and loss.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

I was in New Jersey Sunday and Monday for the funeral of a dear friend to our family.  It was hard and it was so sad.  I sat there at the funeral while her two sons and daughter gave such incredible testimony to her life, and to what she meant to them as a mother.  One thing stuck out that was so beautiful and poignant and it went something like this: "Mom thought her life was plain and simple, but it was anything but plain and simple to us."  It was heartbreaking.  That she wasn't sitting there among them, a whole family, the way we'd been accustomed to seeing them forever.  That her plain and simple life meant the world to them.  That they were forever changed by her life and by her death.  To hear the love, the loss, the tears catching in their voices, that their leader of the family, as they called her, was gone.  I'm sitting here crying again.

I couldn't help but think about Steve, about Shannon.  As my sister and I neared the front of the church  at the viewing and saw them standing up there, I couldn't help but imagine a younger Nathaniel, Jordan, William, and Lindsey standing there at the viewing of their own Mom while people looked on crying at such an unspeakable loss.  Parker is just about how old Lindsey was when Shannon died.  It's incredible to me.  She was so young.

As I sat there, I thought about my role as a mother.  I think being a mother was our friend's most important role, her dearest one, her life's work.  Not because she didn't or couldn't accomplish other things or because it was all she had.  It was because she wanted it that way.  I thought of how important my role is as a mother, as a stepmother.  I thought of how often I fall short of making it the most important thing, how I often keep a record of wrongs, or don't show love and instead let my hurt feelings stand in the way.  I thought of how I'm selfish and make time for the things I find important instead of the things another would find important.  I thought of how I should be the bigger person but don't always act as such.  I thought of how nothing matters, in the end, but the love you shared.  How making your children feel loved through and through is the greatest gift, both to give and to receive.  I have a lot of work to do, but it's really important work.

21 comments:

  1. What a lovely post. I often think about how my family and friends will remember me. And, usually it's a great wake up call. I'm so sorry for your loss, Bridget. The kids are lucky to have you as a step-mom. You had some big shoes to fill when you married your family.. and just from reading your blog, I'd say that you're doing a good job at filling them. All the while keeping Shannon's memory alive. I'm sure that when the kids are all grown they'll be so grateful to you for that.

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  2. So sorry for your loss Bridget. But what a valuable lesson learned while there. You are so right- our job as Mother's is the most important. nothing else really matters but fostering love and fun into the lives of these babies. What blessings they are. I'm sure Parker & the others feel your love. Every picture, you can see their eyes...a lot shows through the eyes. Give yourself grace, I believe you're doing an excellent job. Of course, we all have areas of improvement...but it's small steps. Love your heart Bridget!

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  3. So sorry for your loss and so grateful for the way your heart spreads your words onto this computer screen....hugs mama, even on your worst days you are doing a great job!

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  4. It always amazes me how a blog post like this can take my breath away. I'm so sorry for your loss, but I think you're right in that the love you share is the most important thing you leave behind.

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  5. This is so beautifully written...thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. I've mentioned before that I had to stand at the funeral for my own precious mother when I was 7 and I can tell you with great assurance, that you are doing an amazing job of healing your children's hearts. (and Steve's too). Keep doing what you're doing- though your blog I know you're doing hard, life changing work! God bless
    xo

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  6. You are the sweetest thing. I so admire the mother that you are to children that were born of another woman. What an amazing tribute to her. What an amazing gift to them.

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  7. I think you're phenomenal. So sorry for your loss.

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  8. I'm sorry for your loss and I keep your friends family in my thoughts. You have a such an amazing way to express your thoughts in words, like your heart is writing them down for you, which I really admire.
    Although I don't know you in person at all and you are many miles and a big ocean away from me, I feel really close to you right now, just because you managed to write down everything which bothers me as well. Being a mother and stepmother myself I feel selfish and insufficient all the time. I have the constant urge to improve my myself, to be a better (step),mom ,wife, person, to be kinder as well. Since I discovered your blog, you are some kind of a role model to me - not a in "you are so perfect and I want to have your life sort of way (..well maybe sometimes ;) ) - but I really admire the way you reflect your behaviour, the way you deal with struggles, faults and doubts. It relieves me and it encourages me to keep going and keep doing what I'm doing; you constantly remind me that even on the worst days, there's a possibility for joy. Thank you for that, Bridget and from the bottom of my heart, I wish you strength and courage, to keep doing what you doing as well.

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  9. Heartstrings…tug. So, so sorry for your loss. Such a beautiful expression of a mother's love and lot in life. What a wonderful tribute her kids gave to her. I'm positive yours would do the same. :)

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  10. So sorry for your loss. I recently read a post by Micha Boyett where she mentioned how St. Benedict instructed his monks to "keep the reality of death always before [their] eyes." Micha added that, "Somehow, the fact that we are always in the process of losing each other allows us, if we let it, to love more deeply."

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  11. Lovely. I'm very sorry for your loss.

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  12. I am sorry for the loss of your friend. May you find peace and love within the memories that you hold of her.
    I do not blog but I do read certain blogs almost daily and yours is one of them. Thank you for being so open and honest about parenting. I too am a stepmother to two children who lost their mom when they were far too young at 21/2 and 6 years of age, they are now 11 and 14. I am also a mom to my 13 year old and we have been a blended family now for five years. I know exactly what you mean, as I often reflect on how I need to be more present and understanding and not focus so much on the things that didn't get done.It's also difficult at times to remember they are teenagers now and life can be all too consuming for them and they are dealing with how their world/body is changing. They all amaze me though, and I have learned and grown so much as a person getting to be their parent.
    Cheers to your for enduring this journey!

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  13. i really love your posts. thank you for sharing and I’m so sorry for your loss.

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  14. this is probably one of your top 5 posts... ever....just beautiful words.

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  15. I have always admired how, with such grace, you've taken on this role. You are a beautiful example of motherhood.
    I'm sorry for this loss. What a beautiful tribute to her as you remember her legacy.

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  16. I have no words. Just tears and a chorus of yes's running through my head. Thank you for sharing... Lots of love to you and her family.

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  17. <333 you're doing an amazing job, girlfriend.

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  18. A friend of mine whose mother recently passed told me this morning that she missed her mother so terribly. I was staring at my own sweet children as she was sharing this and the same feelings you described completely overwhelmed me. Thank you for sharing, Bridget.

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  19. I love this so much. It's true, this mothering is our most important work. It's what gets passed along…will they see the way I loved today or lost it today? Sometimes I just tell myself to take a deep breath and let everything else go. Just listen to their stories…just stinking stop everything else and look in their eyes, touch a shoulder, smile at that silly potty joke and let them see that they absolutely have our unending love and adoration. They will remember that we found them endlessly fascinating. Now I'M crying! Just the fact that you are tuned in to this means you are doing it all right. Don't doubt it.

    XOXO,
    Angie (angiepics on Instagram)

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  20. Nothing I can think of more important than the way you make your children feel.

    And I agree with Angie. You're doing this right, even if you make a million mistakes or have bad days, you love them and they know it and rely on it, and that's everything.

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