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Melancholy Mother’s Day

Today’s a day to pack up the car with favorite foods and baked goods we lovingly prepared and head over to our Mom’s house to enjoy the family’s company. Maybe she’s a little older and now it’s our time to welcome everyone to our home.

But there are many who will not have the pleasure of their mother’s company this year. Children, teens, young adults, mid-life and even older adults all long for the days when they were held by, kissed by, loved by, consoled by, fed by, taught by, and even sometimes scolded by their Moms.

There are also mothers who will not have the pleasure of their children’s company this year because they have pre-deceased them. No mother ever believes she will live longer than her children.

There are still other wonderful women who have almost become Mommies but have lost children through miscarriage and stillbirth.

There are women who strive to become pregnant and haven’t yet achieved this goal.

There are also women who chose to release children from their lives through adoption, all in the name of a better life for them, yet they still long for them.

And lastly, there are incredible women, who all their lives believed at some point they’d become mothers and now in their latter years still wonder what it would have been like had their lives’ circumstances been different, had life taken a different turn, and they would have been called “Mommy.”

All these folks feel a melancholy Mother’s Day.

I’d like to celebrate all these families and women today. Each live with a sadness in their soul today, but if we look around, there are many opportunities to fill that sorrow for someone.

If our Mom has died, we can always find another older lady who has no one and adopt her as your own. Bring her to the movies, bake with her, take her for walks. Get her out of the house. Laugh with her, cry with her. She might be as close as our neighbor up the block or down the hall.

If you experienced the death of your own children, you can reach out to a new Mom and help her in special ways with wisdom only you can give her. Especially if her mother has died, she will feel so fortunate for the motherly counsel.

If you’ve experienced miscarriage or stillbirth, I am here to validate your loss. They will always be your child, always. And for those who are working on becoming pregnant…Reach out to friends who have young ones and get involved in their lives. Being around little ones will help raise you up from the feelings of despair that it will never again happen for you. Envision how it will look when you’re bringing your little one to the playground and changing their diapers and watching them laugh as you talk baby talk to them.

Watching “The Secret” will give you hope and help you see possibilities all around you and you need that now.

For my adoptive Mothers…you are truly special. Do you realize how selfless it is to make sure your little one was cared for properly. I can’t think of anything more touching. You should feel such peace that you did the right thing, when perhaps the right thing wasn’t happening in your own life back then. You put your feelings and concerns aside to insure your little one would have a better life. Feel peace in your soul for that, on this day.

And lastly, for all us ladies who were not blessed with little ones. We are a rather large bunch it seems. We are the ones who dote on the nieces and nephews and others children. We have fun text messaging, emailing, calling, sending photos, and laughing over funny jokes. Sure, it took us years to settle within ourselves that this dream would probably not come true.

We struggled with it for a long time and eventually we figured out another way to celebrate all the maternal passions we had. We volunteer for children’s causes, we raise money for them, we become mentors for younger women (as a few precious ladies have for me), and we make sure we’re busy making others’ lives better.

So on this Mother’s Day, I wish you peace above all else. That no matter what stage of life or motherhood, or potential motherhood you may be, that you will find peace within your soul right now. That you may know gratitude for the place you find yourself right now.

Because you deserve this…

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How I will miss you, Jen…

It was a few months back while sitting in my office late one evening opening the mail, that I came across a letter with a familiar last name. It was from the mother of a wonderful woman I had become fast friends with on a flight up to NY a few years ago.

Little did I know that her letter would catch me completely by surprise with news I had never expected to hear.

Jennifer Guberman and I met on a Delta Flight from Orlando back in June 2005 as she pounces two seats from me with the line “it’s really crowded back there, do you mind if I sit next to you?” To which I replied, “No, be my guest.”

That simple greeting was the beginning of a wonderful friendship which came to a hault much too soon. You see, it was that letter I received that evening, all alone in the office, when I found out that Jennifer had died of a freak accident in her home in Worcester, Massachusetts a few months before.

Now you know many of us have friends all around the world and rarely do we have contact info to their immediately families. When we send emails or trade phone calls on cell phones, all of us being so busy, we realize when the person’s life is less crazed, they’ll eventually get back to us. Never do we wonder if anything dramatic has happened.

And usually, if it has, they will drop you a short note and tell you what’s going on and you take it from there.

But this letter was so totally unexpected because I had been wondering why Jen hadn’t called me around the holidays, or responded to my half dozen emails. It wasn’t like her.

So here comes this letter from her Mom, which I must say, I am so grateful for otherwise I would have gone on wondering what had happened.

It turned out Jen died suddenly in her home several months before and I never knew it. And, really, how could I possible have known. Her parents had finally gotten her mail forwarded to them and there they found my Christmas card and gift to her. And thus, her Mom responded.

You know, you really are never ready to hear someone has died. You just aren’t. I don’t care if you knew them less than 3 years or your entire life. You don’t wake up in the morning expecting to hear that kind of news.

So here I was in the office, all alone, and just burst out in tears. Yes, I’m a sensitive soul, otherwise I couldn’t do what I do. But this one was a shocker. I sat back, trying to wipe away the tears which were not subsiding and I just couldn’t comprehend this could be true.

I don’t think I believe it yet anyway. It’s just beyond me, first how all those months could have gone by and Jen and I to have not spoken either by phone or in print. And also, that I didn’t know when it happened, couldn’t have known, and her family couldn’t have done anything more than they did to alert a whole host of personal acquaintances which moved somewhere between best of friends to business colleagues.

Jen and I worked together toward building the Foundation for Grieving Children. She listen to me tell my story on that plane that night and she encouraged me all the way. She offered her assistance in many ways and delivered on everything she promised.

When we were updating our database of services for grieving children, she took the ball and ran with it. She even got others involved (her friends Anna and Josh) and months and months later, the project was all typed in excel, ready for the next step.

When I didn’t know how to research a project in the most expeditious way, I could always call on Jen, my resident librarian and PR person and she’d always give me great advice.

But mostly, you need to know that she was one of the most generous people I’ve ever know. She was there for me in the beginning when I was rebuilding my life after my divorce. She believed in my dreams and visions. She used her money many times to get supplies and her time to make it all come together.

I’ll always remember how she asked how I was getting into Manhattan from JFK Airport the night we landed at nearly midnight. She decided I was coming along with her as the carservice was waiting, and after having dropped her off first near Lexington and 88th where she lived, she said to the driver “take her wherever she needs to go.” She made me feel like a queen.

About a month later we spent Fourth of July together on the East River Promenade watching the Macy’s Fireworks. It was so much fun. Or the time I met her at the doctor’s office to get her home safely after a procedure. Or, when she was moving to Florida and I helped her clean out the apartment as her beloved dog, Rooster, would run around and jump on the bags. He was so funny and how she loved him.

Or when she came back to visit for business and stayed with me at my home. We had such fun. Or when I just needed an ‘ear’ and Jen was always there to tell me it would all come together.

There are people who are planted in our lives for only a short season. Jen was that angel for me. She and I had a very short time together here, but we spoke of God and His works on this earth many, many times. We loved our discussions about faith and how it was working in our lives.

Many times since I learned of her death, I sit quietly and reflect on how much I valued her friendship. I wish you had known my friend, Jennifer Guberman, because you would have surely loved her…