Feb 22, 2010
Every year around major holidays, there’s a particular sting for a mom missing her only daughter. It comes when I set out to find a decent-looking set of clothes for my sons to wear.
Here’s the criteria I’m usually looking for:
- Nothing with cartoon characters on them (or skulls & crossbones, thank you very much).
- Something affordable (I don’t want to spend more than $20-25 per kid), but still made nicely.
- Something handsome, usually with a tie and collared dress shirt (Orison loves a good clip-on).
You’d be surprised how difficult this quest can be. I try department stores, and then the lesser-expensive department stores (Target, Kohl’s), and then move onto stores like Marshall’s.
What I hoped would be a fun way to buy some cute clothes for my kids usually turns into frustration and anger, though. I spend five minutes just trying to find the boys’ dress clothes amidst the sea of girl dress clothes. Eventually I might find a rack or two, and I’ll think from looking at the front, “Oh, this one looks nice…” and then I turn it over and there’s a HUGE applique on the back that says something like “Little Devil” with a demon face on it. What?!?! Do people buy this stuff???
I’m sure the equivalent for little girls would say something like “Perfect Angel” or something sweet like that. Because we all know that girls are just so sweet and perfect, and boys so…not???
I’m sorry, I know it probably sounds like I’m bitter. I’ll admit it, I get angry. It really sucks to go in the kids’ clothes section at all sometimes. And then to be so poignantly reminded that I have no business shopping on 90% of the racks hurts even more. It’s like there’s a big sign slapped on all those racks:
“You Don’t Belong Here.”
I know there are other women like me, living without their only daughter. There’s a particular hole for a mom, a woman, who loses her chance to raise her little girl. So many hopes and dreams die with that little girl.
One thing I’ve learned on my journey is that if I take the time to listen to what’s going on in my heart, all this anger and frustration, and let God pull me deeper, past the self-protectiveness of the anger, I get down to the pain of it. If I will get honest with God there in my anger, he always shows me just how much I’m hurting. Somehow the wall of anger crumbles and I’m left in the rubble, weeping.
Because underneath the anger is always the pain. I can stay there in the anger and grow bitter and hard (trust me, the temptation is there), but God has helped me see that it’s always better to let myself feel all of the emotions (first the anger) and then search for what’s really going on in my heart. Pretty much 100% of the time, under the anger is pain. More pain to feel, more tears to cry, more aspects of the loss that I need to grieve.
Sometimes I don’t want to go there. Sometimes I just want to rant and rail against my situation. Sometimes I just want to buy clothes for my sons. It’s hard and frustrating. Sometimes it feels like there’s nowhere to go from the pain–it can rise up anytime or anywhere. Grief is not just for grieving places, like the cemetery. It happens in other stranger places–you know, places like Kohl’s.
I suppose the other option would be to pretend like I don’t feel the anger. “No, no, no…it’s bad to be angry. God took Felicity away and I have to be happy and content with that.” If I decide on this option, I also miss the chance to grieve, just like I would have if I would’ve stayed hard and angry and bitter.
But Jesus doesn’t turn away the grievers. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” I am called blessed. And I’m promised His comfort.
This is blessed assurance. It’s like a great big sign at the foot of the Cross that say:
“You Belong Here.”