May 11


When Mothers Day is Hard

By Jessica Allen

May 11, 2018

grief, grief recovery, mothers day

For every woman who swallows the lump in her throat on Mothers Day and for every daughter missing her mom, I see you and you are loved.

For every mama who feels weary and worn out: I see you too and you are loved.

For every mama who has nursed a broken heart, for every mama whose heart is still breaking, and for every mama who has sent a piece of her soul to heaven: I see you most of all. Your dreams are real. And the invisible yet ever-present pieces of your souls matter.

Hidden behind cards and flowers and commercials that we can’t watch with the sound on, there is quiet heartache. There is always so much for which to be grateful… but no amount of gratitude can soothe the pain of a grieving heart.

If this Mothers Day makes you want to hide under the covers, do it. It is just a day, created by the consumer industry to sell things.

Quietly snooze your fit friends on social media who will “splurge on a sliver of cheesecake” at brunch. Crawl into bed and eat the whole damn thing. Everyone’s glowing family photos will still be there for you to double tap tomorrow. Let next week be for health. This week is for wellness.  And maybe breaking some plates.

If this Mothers Day is a joy-filled celebration, savor it! Guilt-free! Spend time on your knees in gratitude, gather your chicks to love them well, snuggle in for a well-deserved nap, and take a moment to reach out in love to a woman you can bless by your care. “I’m thinking of you today” is so simple yet will mean so much.

For me?  Mothers day is always a bit surreal. How does your heart accept a card with one scribbly signature missing? How does your mind wrap around a family photo missing one sweet face?

When I unwrap gifts with my heart full of blessings, will I still choke these tears forever?

I don’t know the answer to that but I do know that for now the tears are okay. They’re the strangest mix of wonderful love and excruciating pain. Love that makes my heart beat out of my chest and pain that rips my chest in two.

I wonder often if blissful ignorance would be infinitely easier than heartful presence. (Why, O Lord, did I ever name this blog that? Writing about shooting buzzards required so much less heart work.) After I shake my fists a little bit I always come back to the same conclusion: I wouldn’t trade this love or this pain or this heartful presence for any amount of blissful ignorance.

As God in His time stitches up that tear in my chest, and builds my scar tissue little by little, there is more room for more love, for more presence, for more depth, than I ever had before.  Our hearts grow into greater capacity to hold everything – and everyone –  we choose to fill them with.  I hope my heart never stops growing.  Mostly I am grateful for that expansion.  But no growth comes without pain.

And when it hurts most, there is always cheesecake under the covers.

Wherever you are this Mothers Day, glowing on the mountaintop or crawling in the dark, lock arms with the people who join in your joy, grab hold of the people who share in your sadness, honor the women who made you the amazing woman you are, and be just as you need to be. This moment in time is simply one snapshot – one that we’ll add to the collection of millions of moments that make up a broken but beautiful life.

Rejoicing, grieving, or somewhere in the muddy middle: I see you and you are loved. Every full and fractured swell of your heart matters to me.



For the little piece of my soul that lives in heaven, and all the pieces still here too


**For an extra read, this is a piece I wrote for submission to a Christian devotional.  Find the full post here.


He is Not Here

It was the crisp cool morning of a South Texas November. Quiet, slow footsteps collected on the cobblestone path as our family gathered to lay our son’s ashes to rest in the marble columbarium wall, tucked away in a garden at the church.

With gloved hands I clutched the brushed gold box close to my chest. It had lain silently on the fireplace mantle for two days. He was there… but not there. And so was I. Present in body yet vacant in spirit.   Numb to all save the salty sting of swollen eyes and the suffocating weight of a broken heart.

We stood closely together in the chill of the morning as the church bells rang. Hands were held, words were spoken, life was celebrated. The vast blue sky hung frozen crystal clear over that holy ground. As our pastor reached for the little gold box containing my entire heart and soul, I imagined how God must have felt in that dark hour on Calvary. How burdened he must have been with the impossible task of handing over his Son to someone else – everyone else. And in that moment I finally understood His limitless love for me. As I struggled to release that precious box, into my empty and open hands flooded love and peace that simultaneously broke me and set me free.

And so my littlest love rests in that beautiful wall. There… but not there. Why do we look for the living among the dead? He is not here!

Praise God for his infinite love that reaches the depths of our wounded souls!

Heavenly Father, thank you for wrapping me in your love, even when I do not understand your plan. You know the cry of my heart. Be with me always. Amen.

Suggested long reading: Luke 24:1-8

In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!” Luke 24:5-6, NIV

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. – Lamentations 3:22-23, ESV

Mothers Day is hard|Mothers Day feels sad|crying woman statue

Jessica Allen

About the author

Jessica is a writer, musician, entrepreneur, wife, and mom. Jessica's mission is to write "real" - shining light into the dark places of the tough stuff we all experience. She and her husband Jack live in Houston, Texas and have weathered the storms of grief, infant loss, adoption, and a marriage that almost fell apart. Jessica and Jack have four children: LJ in heaven, Grace, Jackson, and Elisha.

  1. LJ has the best mom on the planet. And he told me to tell you that eating cheesecake under the covers is always allowed. Plus, it keeps Grace and Jackson from seeing it and trying to steal it 🙂

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