While attending an event, the host took a moment to wish all the mothers a happy Mother’s Day. I was perfectly fine until it happened. A woman tapped me and said five words that cut like a knife in my heart. She said “You are still a mother”. STAB STAB STAB STAB STAB!!! I guess the look on my face spoke volumes because she then tried to redeem herself by saying “Let me tell you about the Word” as she continued to explain her thought. STAB STAB STAB STAB STAB!!!
Real talk, I stopped her because although she was trying to make me feel better, the more she talked the angrier I got. With every word she spoke, I got hotter than fish grease at the family reunion cookout on July 4th weekend. Anger is a stage of grief. Being emotionally intelligent by knowing and recognizing where I am is a part of my healing process. I knew she meant well and I don’t expect people who have never experienced the loss of a child to understand my point of view. I do expect to be heard and I knew she was not hearing me. She began to throw Scriptures at me. Scriptures that had nothing to do with grief, healing or even God’s love for me. THE THINGS I NEED IN THIS SEASON. She quoted Isaiah 54:17–No weapon that is formed against you shall prosper…(insert long dramatic sigh). *PAUSE* By no means is this an attempt to bash this woman for trying but stay with me because I want to teach you something. *PLAY* At this point, I’m thinking “Hunti…YOU have formed the weapon and you have no idea how much you are killing me right now”. The more I shook my head no or voiced my request for her to stop, the more she persisted. Granted, there is a time to be persistent but this was not the time. This was a time to put on the spirit of Kenny Rogers and know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away and know when to run. Soooo…in order to not hurt this sweet lady with my words, I removed myself.
Here’s the thing, not every woman who has lost a child is in the space I am in. Not every person who has lost their mother is in the space I am in. I am in a space where God has healed parts of me, but the work continues on a daily basis. This time of year is hard for those of us who have experienced such great loss. Grief has no time limit and everyone grieves differently. Holidays can be a major trigger for grief. Saying the wrong thing is like pulling the trigger of a gun and firing a shot straight to the heart. What seems harmless can actually be very harmful. For me, Mother’s Day marks the end of my grieving season but it is usually the hardest. Why? Because I grieve the loss of my mother and my daughter. The worst thing someone can do is remind me of my loss by speaking those five words or any version of them.
Power Squad, please respect people’s wishes. Your good intention could inflict pain. Your good intention could reopen a wound that was just beginning to heal. Listen to the person who is grieving and please for the love of the Most High God, do not force your point of view on the person grieving. If you still have your mom, have never lost a child, or have been able to conceive a child you have no knowledge of that pain. If you love that person, do something to help them not harm them. Just be there for the person with an open heart, open ear and open eyes. Be careful with your words because your words can produce life.
I have made the same request for twelve years (my daughter died twelve years ago this year) that takes some people aback, but I know me and I know what these words do to my heart. I have asked that no one wish me a happy Mother’s Day. Now, I do not have a problem with honoring mothers on her day, but this is my personal wish. I also ask that people do not tell me that I will “always” be a mother. No. I will always be my daughter’s mother and she is not here. Many people may not agree with my wish, but guess what…it is MY wish and I make no apologies for creating this boundary. It is a request made once a year. That’s not too much to ask, right?
One thing about living an emPOWERed life is taking time to learn your triggers, set healthy boundaries and make no apologies for healing.
For those of you who are having a tough time on this day, I am praying for you. Know that you are not alone on this journey.
- Take a break from social media today.
- Make room to connect with God.
- Grab your journal to write out what you are feeling.
- Grant yourself some grace.
Join us Saturday, June 9th at Fahrenheit for the inaugural Slaying Life Without Apology Brunch as we celebrate the launch of my new book Standard Operating Procedures to Slaying Life Without Apology. Early bird registration is open now.
Tracey Massey is a servant leader whose assignment is helping others live an emPOWERed life. She is a Certified Life Coach, speaker, and founder of Living My EmPOWERed Life LLC a service based company teaching women how to slay life without apology. Rooted in faith, Tracey is known for her method of teaching others how to overcome roadblocks with action. Her triumphant testimony recharges your hope for the future. Get plugged in with Tracey to start living the emPOWERed life that you deserve.
Pre-order her new book Standard Operating Procedures to Slaying Life Without Apology at bit.ly/SOPsbook