I know a mother who—through the horrors of war and against all odds and despite the deep longing she surely carried for all that was familiar and safe—nourished faith and life and went on to carve the survival of her family out of the earth. She, like mothers all over the world, siphons from a bottomless well of love to bring nourishment and protection through all kinds of weather and erosion, and time and time again, season after season, regenerates and renews her soul to keep doing it. Thank you, Mom; I love you.
I know a mother who was unable to protect her little ones, a mother who saw them dispersed like drops of rain in a brutal wind. She agonized over where they were until she was finally reunited with them, only to have her infant daughter cruelly taken from her after all. And then she too left home behind to be with her surviving children in a country whose customs and language she never did fully adjust to. Thank you Grandma.
I know mothers who never saw the faces of their babies, but love them as desperately as have mothers since the beginning of time. I know one who carried hers long enough to know it was a little girl that left the hole in her heart.
I know a mother who lost the father of her children when they were far too young, and went on to fill the role of both mother and father for many, many years. (Her children turned out pretty awesome; I married one of them.)
I know mothers, many, who fan the dreams of their children, watch them chase these dreams, and then, across miles and oceans, feel them present in their bones day and night.
I know a mother who has carried the soul of her son in every cell of her body every aching day since the day he took his life. I know a mother who lost her firstborn to another kind of thief, and who carries this too in every cell of her body. And now this intuition, this invisible umbilical cord, appears to be measurable—science has discovered the cells of our babies present in our bodies, even decades after giving birth.
I know a mother who takes her daughter’s unrelenting, seemingly senseless and unending pain, and turns it into compassion for the most shattered and lost among us.
I know a mother whose joy in her severely handicapped daughter is louder than her heartbreak, and whose love makes the universe burst with pride and joy.
I know a mother bearing the pain of watching her vibrant young daughter live with the thief that is cancer. I know another whose maternal energy is the most potent force in her own war with cell division easily tempted to run amok.
I know a mother who left her dead husband and children behind in her war-torn land to bring her surviving daughters to safety in a country whose customs and language and winters make her ache daily for home.
I know a mother who is mother not only to her own children, but also to the many who come to her with their need. She is the queen of empathy and wisdom and shining love into dark unknown corners.
I know a mother who loves the earth deeply, and who earlier today, whispered the name of a young woman she has never met with each seed she planted in the earth, allowing all that is painful right now for another woman’s daughter to ride her every breath.
And I too whispered your names with each word I wrote just now, and send my love—Mom, Grandma, daughter, sister, friend—all of you who channel love, all of you who know deeply we are all connected, made of the elements, the brightest of stars, Shining Love. Come meet me by the river one night soon, as soon as it gets warm, and we’ll stand barefoot in the grass, and allow Mother Earth to hold us for a few minutes.