Her Heart is Broken. But Her Life is Not.

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Dana’s post on Tuesday was powerful.

But there’s more..

Four days after her dad died, I met her at a shopping center so she could find something to wear to the funeral. It was a beautiful day in Southern California, and our girls were happy to be out. They played at my feet as Dana tried on and modeled dresses. She’d look great in a paper bag, so really we were waiting for the one that spoke to us. “And says what?” she asked ruefully. “Perfect for Dad’s funeral?”

On the way out of one store, there were huge floppy hats. “I’d love to wear a big hat to the service” she said. But after she put one on, and looked at herself for a long moment, how it hid her face, she took it off. In my heart, I was proud of her for not hiding under the brim. Dana doesn’t hide, not even from the most difficult moment in her life.

We had lunch at the nicest restaurant. Who cares that we had a two year old, a one year old and a six month old? Nobody  was going to say anything to us–we’re twelve feet of woman coming at you and on that day, we were projecting some big-time mama space.

We drank a whole bottle of wine. The girls happily let us sit for over two hours. That hasn’t happened in the history of the world, so our guardian angels knew what we needed. We talked and she cried. But we laughed too. It was one of those moments after someone dies where normal life is fighting to share space next to grief.

I missed Alan’s funeral because of a long-scheduled multi-family vacation–which I was willing to cancel, but Dana would hear nothing of that. She sent me a selfie on her way to the service, looking like a Steel Magnolia. “I’m praying for you” I texted back. “I know” she replied.

Since then, not all the days have been easy. But some have been easy. And not all the days have been hard. But some have been hard. Dana is present for it all, and handles each with grace, because she prays for grace and asks us to pray grace over her.

Her heart is broken. But her life is not.

In the last two years, several of her friends have also lost parents.

Dana does not pull away. She goes to them and brings faith, hope and love. She cries with them. She shares her resources and rallies the rest of us in prayer. She knows this shadow, and that where there is shadow, there is light. She brings the light with her when she comes.

When she gives, she gets. When she gets, she gives. And each time a piece of her heals.

The best thing is that she does this all out loud and in front of her daughters. So they are learning an amazing lesson about grief and giving and grace.

Happy Mother’s Day to my soft, strong and beautiful friend. You are an inspiration and I love you.

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It’s Mother’s Day. We have amazing mothers, and that’s why we never write about them.  The love in our hearts is too big for words.

It’s Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month. Dana and I both suffered Postpartum Anxiety. This is a big issue for us, so please, don’t just look at the new babies around you. Look at the news moms, too. Are they ok?

But May is also the month of Mary, mother of Jesus. She understands death and grief, the struggles and joys of motherhood. She is our first best model of a woman whose heart was broken, but not her life. She prayed for grace and became it. She went to others in need with faith, hope and love, and shined a light into the darkness.

So for all the mothers on Mother’s Day, we offer this prayer, the Memorare:

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided.

Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me.

Amen.

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