Sappy Mother’s Day

Me & J

There is no point in pretending otherwise. For many, Mother’s Day is difficult. If not for you, it is emotive for someone you know who is grieving the loss of a mother or a child.

Sons and daughters grieve the loss of their mothers. And mommas grieve the loss of their sons and daughters. Whether by death or estrangement, the interrupted mother/child relationship is the pain point for salty tears and stinging heartache.

Does the anticipation of another Mother’s Day tie you up in knots? If so, you are not alone.

When happy memories of past Mother’s Day celebrations co-habit with a deep sadness of your current reality, the result is a SAPPY day. Sad + Happy = Sappy.

Truth be told, sappy days visit more often than just the second Sunday of May each year.

Those Precious Cards

Tucked away in a special spot are years of Mother’s Day cards from my son, Jordan. I treasure them all. But the one Jordan gave me the year he died is precious. How I wish it wasn’t the last one.

Since my kids were old enough to print, I cherished the cards Jordan and Chantel independently made for me. I’ve kept them all. Some were humorous and cheeky. Other cards were complimentary and sweet.

While still a young boy, Jordan enjoyed creating occasion cards on the computer. He would only sign his name on the card. No personal words of endearment included.

The Secret

One day as Jordan was creating a card for his Auntie Nancy, I shared a little secret.

When someone receives a card, I explained, their eyes immediately spot any personal handwritten words. As clever as the professional prose printed in the card may be, it is not what the recipient first reads. Rather, it is the heartfelt words expressed by the sender which hold the greatest significance.

This new discovery resonated with Jordan. From then on, he filled the white spaces in each card with his own words of humour, love and appreciation. It became Jordan’s personal brand.

I always looked forward to Jordan’s cards. They arrived on every occasion. As a young adult, the flow of thank you cards for various reasons increased. Impressively, Jordan was quick to express appreciation with cards. I hung onto every word.

A Private Conversation

Competing for first place on my list of treasured words from Jordan is a single, brief entry—not written in a card—but from his prayer journal on Mother’s Day 2011. It feels sacred to read a private conversation between my son and his Heavenly Father as he expressed appreciation… for me!

Jordan wrote, “Thank you, God, that my mom is a Christian. She has provided me with an amazing upbringing. I love her.”

It’s impossible to read those words without my eyes brimming with sappy tears. More than an expected “I love you” written in a card, Jordan’s private conversation with God both wrecks and amazes me.

Honest Admissions

In reading Jordan’s journal entries, I also discovered more about his weaknesses. Among them was his fixation on worrying. I did not know how much of his thought life focused on forecasting problems, not realized. Pages upon pages were honest admissions to the Lord about things that produced fear in him.
My initial reaction to learning the depth of Jordan’s worries was this thought. “He certainly didn’t get that worry habit from me. I don’t worry. I’m only responsibly concerned.”

That sounds so much better, doesn’t it?

I am prone to worry, too. The irony is my weaknesses look worse when I spot them in someone else.

Through his journal, Jordan showed the best strategy for unloading worries. With full disclosure, he acknowledged everything that weighed him down and brought those worries to God. There is great wisdom in this approach. It’s worthy of imitating.

The Two-Step

As Mother’s Day brings with it a mixture of emotions, I’m choosing to remember my son by imitating two of his strengths.

1. This week, I’m sending out two cards. One to a friend who is grieving the loss of their mom and another to a friend missing their child. I will fill the white space with my personal handwritten words of empathy and care.

2. Writing them down, I will identify all the things that are a source of worry and tell God all about it. He can handle the depth of my fears. There is no judgement. Only an invitation to leave my worries with my Father God.

Isaiah 12:2 MSG “Yes, indeed—God is my salvation. I trust. I won’t be afraid.”

Will you join me by doing the two-step, as well? One step is serving others and the second step is contributing to our self-care. Let’s do it together. 

As you reflect on your loved one who has died, are there notable strengths you will choose to imitate in their honor? Please share them with me. 

Cheering you on,


Picture of Shirley Thiessen

Shirley Thiessen

Author and speaker helping you bring hope to broken, grieving hearts.