It wasn't supposed to be that way. It wasn't the story that was supposed to unfold.
It certainly wasn't the plan after 20 plus years of marriage.
Divorce. It was over 20 years ago but many days it feels like yesterday.
They say time heals all wounds, I'm not sure I buy that. It may mask the wound but it doesn't heal it.
Healing comes from forgiveness.
It still hurts. It's still raw. It's still awkward. It's still not the way it should be.
But through it all, you kept getting out of bed. You kept showing up. You kept hoping and expecting that the sun would push up the darkness.
Mom, there are a ton of life lessons you taught me that I could write about. Like how you taught me about grace. Or how you model generosity in the way you give of your time, energy and love. And certainly you taught me about selflessness by how you are continually serving others and putting their needs first.
But as I considered one lesson you taught me, I kept coming back to this.
You were resilient.
Not perfect, not without blame, not without struggle. But resilient.
You believed that loving your children was worth fighting for, even when it would have been easier to grow hard. You believed that holding it together, even when it meant holding on by a thread, was important.
You taught me something deep, something significant, something that has shaped me permanently.
It wasn't taught formally, with a perfect curriculum, or even by your words. It was taught by your life.
You taught me how to be resilient.
In the gritty, messy, uncertain world we live in, your resilience gave me hope to keep fighting. To get in the ring one more time. To take one more swing.
Like the time when the first business I started failed, with a newborn baby girl at home. Or like the time when we had two miscarriages back to back. Or when my own marriage hit a tough spot and we had to dig in deep in the counselor's chair.
See mom, your resilience was likely a self-defense mechanism at the time. A reaction to the tough pill that was making its way down.
But it turned into something much more than that. It blossomed into a gift that you passed down to your three children.
A much needed gift that all three of us have needed desperately in recent years.
Beyond my family's need for this gift, your resilience helped a couple years ago when your oldest held his 37 year old wife's hand after she had a heart attack. With their three kids by their side.
It is helping your daughter as she begins chemo this week as a 38 year old breast cancer fighter. With her husband and four kids by her side.
And as all three of us (with our spouses) parent your 12 grandchildren, maybe more than our desire for them to be smart, well-adjusted, successful or whatever else, we desire for them to be resilient.
Like you are.