Mother’s Day needs to be every day

Last week was one I hadn’t been looking forward to. It was six months in the making and, as May 12 approached, so did my apprehension. May 12 was Mother’s Day.

Now, who can possibly be afraid of Mother’s Day?

Six month’s ago, on Nov. 13, my world shook with the full force of God Almighty as He called my precious Josie, wife of 46 years, to His side. The pain — many of you have experienced it, but I had not — cannot be expressed in words. It’s an ache that invades your core and your mind with a grip so intense you question your very being.

Countless times, I have consoled others with phone calls expressing my deepest sorrow and have prayed for them and their family. I am sure you have done the same. Last November, in my darkest of dark moments, I found myself on the receiving end of those prayers.

For any of us who ever doubted the power of prayer, let me tell you now to stop the doubting. I wrapped myself up in the many prayers given to my family and me. They were intense, their healing power was immense, and, as I pulled each prayer deeply into my heart one by one, a bit of the pain was pushed away.

To those who expressed their love and concern, God bless each and every one of you for helping a man desperately in need.

You know Josie. Although you may have never met her, you have. She was and represents the person in your life who gives your life meaning. We all have a Josie in our lives. It is the person who gives you foundation and purpose. It is the person who puts you above himself or herself. It is the person so closely tied to your soul it is as if you are one. It is the person who knows how you feel and what you are thinking without the need for words. It is the person who blankets you with unconditional love and support and has been with you through your brightest and darkest moments.

Up until last week, I thought I had a pretty good grasp on what is important. Josie had always been here to remind me of things like this. But I was wrong. In the days leading up to Mother’s Day, she continues to teach me that the “stuff” we surround ourselves with has little meaning and purpose compared to what truly is significant.

To Josie, and your “Josie,” as well, people are what are important. Those we choose to make part of our short time on earth shape us, teach us, love us, and understand us. And when we lose the one we love the most, the one who is actually part of you, there exists a hole you think is so vast it will never close.

These last few days, Josie has shown me it will shrink. The hole will be filled by those who also benefitted from what the Josies of our lives left behind. The love and purity and belief in family and friends will begin to pour into that hole, helping ease the pain.

Above all, motherhood was Josie’s passion, so to my son, Josh, and daughter, Jamie: Continue to give of yourselves as your mother Josie taught you. Keep her with you, as she still has a lot to give both of you.

And, to those who have a Josie of their own in your life, keep them close and listen to their words of wisdom.

And, to my beloved Josie, I ask you to be patient with me, to stay by my side for the rest of our journey and to continue to teach me the meaning of life. Dearest Josie, your pain has ended and now you are beginning to heal mine just as you did for so many years. Our journey has not ended, as you will be with me as I complete our dream.

There is a new peach tree in my front yard now, surrounded by memories of her. May it grow strong like Josie, may it produce the fruits of life, like Josie. May it bloom each spring to nourish my soul.

I got through Mother’s Day just fine, with the few tears wiped away by my children as we shared memories of an amazing mom.

Finally, to the thousands of readers who allow me to share this space with you each week, I ask each of you to say a prayer for the Josies in your life and may those prayers have the soul-saving power that have helped me though my darkest of hours.

Mother’s Day needs to be every day in my book, to recognize the Josies of the world and to help us remember to live life giving to others.

Tell me about the Josie in your life at gregawtry@awtry.com.

Greg Awtry is the former publisher of the Scottsbluff (Neb.) Star-Herald and Nebraska’s York News-Times. He is now retired and living in Hubbard Lake. Greg can be contacted at gregawtry@awtry.com.