Mothering Sunday is not my favourite day of the church year. Oh it was when my daughters were young. I’d love to go to church and receive the bunches of daffodils tied up with a bit of greenery and some ribbon. They would take pride of place on the mantelpiece along with their home made cards. Then my mother died in 1993 (breast cancer secondaries in spine at age 65) and the day has never been the same. It was OK while the girls were still at home. The joy of being with them somehow helped me to cope with the loss of my mother. But our children are not at home for ever and so as I entered into full time ministry with my children having flown the nest Mothering Sunday started to become bitter sweet – and at times downright painful and extremely sad – as I was the one at the front being cheerful and bright thanking God for mums and encouraging the congregation to do likewise. I would bless the flowers and be part of their distribution and hope that someone would remember that I am a woman and a mother. There were a couple of years when I didn’t receive any. Somehow it didn’t register that I was a woman when flowers were being given to all the women in the congregation – and it was me saying, lets give some to all the women….. In the end I had to ask someone beforehand to remember me as it was so painful and I didn’t want to be visibly upset. And it didn’t feel right just taking one for myself. There’s something about having them given to you which makes them special, as indeed the fact that they are from church. This is despite having received cards etc from my daughters.
So I always remember to include in the service a mention of the day being painful for some whether that’s because they have never had a longed-for child, or through bereavement.
I decided to fulfill today’s challenge by including in the services tomorrow some candle lighting and prayers for those who find the day difficult. One for each ‘category’: never had children, bereavement, other difficulties, eg breakdown of relationship which could include dementia, mental illness or falling out etc or that their living conditions make mothering difficult. I put a notice to that effect on each of the church Facebook pages and the village facebook pages.
I had already encouraged someone with a message regarding Mothering Sunday. She has had to put her mother into a home and understandably feels very bad about it. I told her that she had done the best thing for her mum and that I would be praying for her on Sunday as she is likely to find it difficult.
It will be interesting to see how I feel tomorrow as I will have 3 services to take. I feel fine though as I have already received one card from one of my daughters a couple of days ago, which is lovely. To be honest I recognised her handwriting on the envelope and wondered what on earth it could be!!!! Yes…. I kid you not…. I had already started preparations for Sunday, so I knew Mothering Sunday was on the horizon but it didn’t occur to me to not open it and save it for Sunday.