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  Subscribe to the Winter 2004 issue now!
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pART TWO --SURVIVING mOTHER'S DAY -
 
by Debbie Fox

While recovery was not easy, I had realized I did not want to lose my husband along with my daughter. Being alone was my constant fear. Could my husband and I reconcile our feelings, return to the closeness we once had enjoyed? Could I find some meaning in Christie’s death? Could I reach acceptance?

Then God sent a pastor to my door, and the Holy Spirit led me back to church.

NIV: Pss. 38:/9 All my longings lie open before you, O Lord; my sighing is not hidden from you/. 10 /My heart pounds, my strength fails me; even the light has gone from my eyes/. 11 /My friends and companions avoid me because of my wounds; my neighbors stay far away/.

During my two months of church attendance, I still struggled to understand and accept God’s will. I knew I’d feel that all too familiar hollowness when mothers were recognized during the Mother’s Day service.

NIV: Job 30:28 / I// go about blackened, but not by the sun; I stand up
in the assembly and cry for help/.

A woman comforted me. With my tears purged and my pain unveiled, I felt unburdened, as if I had begun my reformation.

NIV: Isa. 60:20 /Your// sun will never set again, and your moon will wane no more; the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your days of sorrow will end/.
As Mother’s Day wound down and our guests prepared to leave, my husband spied two ducks on the sidewalk. A stately mallard, his emerald shrouded head and neck flashing in the waning afternoon light, guarded his less colorful mate as she sipped sprinkler run-off water from the gutter.

 

“The golf course lake must be dry,” someone said, laughing.

As our guests were leaving, my husband tossed a handful of breadcrumbs near the ducks, who fearlessly scarfed down the handout. After another sip of water, the pair waddled off leaving webbed prints on the sidewalk.

Throwing an arm around my shoulders, my husband walked me into the house.

“Just a couple of old ducks.” I laughed, feeling equally protected by my mate. “I wonder if they had any ducklings.”

“Maybe they left the nest,” my husband said.

Days later, I noticed the mallard duck couple sunning together in my neighbor’s yard. I watched them for some time before an unknown urge drew them aloft. Like two precision jet aircrafts, the couple soared low along the street, gained altitude, and disappeared beyond the horizon. Not only did their silent communication fascinate me but also their decision to brave the hot pavement for a rest on a parched lawn in suburbia. With or without offspring, the mallard couple was devoted to each other. Curious about their habits, I discovered that mallards mated for life. Perhaps they had raised their duckling family and now enjoyed exploring new territories together. Perhaps God had sent them to me on Mother’s Day—to remember . . . to encourage . . . to understand.

Like the mallards, my husband and I remain mated for life despite the loss of our child. With my life-long mate, I am free to explore other territories. I might never understand God’s plan, but I know His shining light banished loneliness from my life. The ducks never returned, but I think of them together, honking their happiness up above. I too look forward to soaring and to surviving another Mother’s Day.


BIO: Debbie Fox, a freelance writer, has had essays published in Sasee Magazine, The Fellowship Link Writing Well, A Guide to English 101 at College of the Canyons, and Women on Writing. She lives with her husband in southern California and just completed, Living in My Skin, a memoir.