This year marks the 20th Mother’s Day since I lost my daughter Alisa Joy. The best gift a mother can have is to be with her children on this special day. In the early years after her death, I struggled with her absence, even as I was loved by my remaining family. But gradually, the realization came to me that I was still her mother and no one could take that from me. I still miss her, but she is forever in my heart. She is, and will always be my Joy.
Life is like an onion and we’re always peeling back a new layer. One of Alisa’s close friends, Leana, called me on this year’s anniversary of her death just last month. Like Alisa would be, she is now a thirty-five and has a baby of her own. While it is bittersweet because I miss the grandchildren that Alisa might have given me, I treasure that her friends still share their lives and families with me. In this case, Leana shared that how as a new mother she had gained perspective on how Alisa’s loss had affected me. Somehow this cycle of life comforts me because even though I can’t touch her, Alisa is still part of that cycle and part of me.
For mothers whose child has been killed by a drunk driver, Mother’s Day can be especially painful. If we have other children, it is a day filled with bittersweet emotions. The gratitude we feel for the beautiful gift of sharing life with our surviving children is joyful. At the same time, the longing for our deceased child is an agony that constantly tugs at our hearts. My friends who have no surviving children tell me they feel a deep emptiness on Mother’s Day.
Yet, love never dies. All of us are grateful for the precious time we were given with our children who have died. I send wishes to every mother for a day filled with warm memories, special moments and peaceful joys. Love lives forever.