Once in a while, I feel this enormous unfillable void. The one left by my mother. It hurts and aches and I don't even know that's what it is until I stop and listen to my heart and pay attention to what is going on inside of me. Grief has a way of sneaking up on you. Of always being there and voicing itself just when you think it's grown quiet.
I find myself wondering how long has it been since I felt her touch, since I heard her say my name, since she gave me a warm, motherly smile. Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of days gone by.
Most of my life was lived believing she never loved me. And I know now that she did, but it was hard for her to show me - she never did that well. My story has been shaped by both her beauty and her brokenness. But my heart believes that if she were alive today that our relationship would work. That there might be normal mother-daughter tensions and differences, but we would be honest and kind and real. We would have what we always wanted to share together.
Still though, the ache remains. The parts of me that find myself wishing she could be here. I wish I could remember what it felt like to have a mom. I wish I could know what it felt like to be loved by her. I wish and I wish and I wish.
Then in a moment, cradling my baby boy who falls asleep in my arms, I brush a finger across his face. I kiss his forehead. I whisper I love you even though he sleeps. And I begin to cry. Because it's there that I see her face for me - compassion and love in her eyes, nodding yes. Yes, I did this with you. I loved you like this. Yes, you were loved by me. You are loved by me.
An unremembered memory. But one that I know exists. One of my own mother cradling me in her arms doing the very same thing with me as a baby. Reminding me that she too loved me as much as I love my own little one. Perhaps all of this is simply how I find comfort in my grief, of missing her and living life without my mother. But perhaps it's more. Maybe there is something real, some kind of truth to what comes to my heart in those moments.
Either way, I find comfort. Joy even.
And suddenly, just like that, the ache turns into a cup overflowed.