Waking Up to Another Side of Mother’s Day

keyboard I have a small case of insomnia.  It is not the type that produces any productivity and it only exposes me to bad infomercials and an occasional movie.  Last week I was flipping through the channels and saw the movie listing of Mary and Martha on HBO.  After reading the description, I knew that it was going to be a somber movie and it was not a good idea to watch because it would just make me feel sad. So, I watched it anyway.  I just decided to take a peek and I was not able to turn it off, even though I kept telling myself to turn to another show.  Something just kept me on the channel and I did not listen to myself.  Tears filled my eyes for the majority of the movie and by the end of it; I discovered why I watched it.  I watched it because I had to.

Mary and Martha was written by a director who has always made comedies.  This was not a comedy. This time he told the story of two women from different parts of the world, living in two different classes with one thing in common.  They both lost their only child to malaria, in Africa. Although the statistics of malaria are briefly given, it mostly provides a visual exercise in an unbearable truth. It shows the anguish of mothers losing their children.

I watched this movie two days before Mother’s Day, a day of celebration. This day will now have a new element in it for me, after watching Mary and Martha.

Many of us have seen movies that depict a pregnant woman screaming in the midst of a physically painful delivery.  Now imagine those screams of pain, but this time it is  a mother or any caretaker of a child  bending over with an anguish that weakens the knees caused  by the loss of a child. That pain must vibrate forever.

I have always been slightly challenged by Mother’s Day, as though I did not understand the whole picture, as though there was something amiss. I know that it is a wonderful day that I love and it is a day for all children to celebrate having a loving caretaker whether it is a grandmother, an aunt, step-mother, a guardian or anyone who fulfills that role.

However, after watching this movie I realized the missing acknowledgement.  I would like my children to celebrate having a mother that cares deeply for them and I then will commit to make this one day a year the time to support  other mother’s in jeopardy of losing their identity, as a mother.  There are too many mothers out there who no longer have all of their children and in some cases no children.  In the movie, one of the characters, after losing her son,  says “I have been a mother most of my life, I do not know how to do anything else.”

Mother’s Day must be profoundly painful to these woman. On this past Mother’s Day,  I decided to help the cause of maleria so I could fractionally and potentially protect a mother from that same anguish.  Next year, I may choose another cause; but the motive behind it will be about protecting other mothers from their worst fear. Chances are I will make Mother’s Day more than one day a year for this purpose because the gift of Mother’s Day is being able to celebrate Mother’s Day without an echo of loneliness.

That night,  I realized that, this time, my insomnia did not keep me awake, it woke me up.

Thank you to all the caretakers of our children in the world.

Best Wishes,

Ivy Lifton





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