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The Hidden Picture

Have you ever seen one of the projection photo necklaces? I recently purchased one and it’s my new favorite piece of jewelry. If you haven’t heard of those, it’s a necklace with what appears to be a jewel. But, if you take a closer look, the jewel has a hidden photo projected inside. You have to get the jewel pretty close to your eye to see it. The image is masked to the outside world, but something you carry with you when you wear it.

Isn’t that such a fitting depiction of our mother loss? Now that I’m seven years into my mother loss journey, my grief is not often on display for others to see. Most days I do not encounter people who knew my mom or anyone who is thinking about my grief. But, just like that photo hidden in the jewel, my mother loss is something I carry with me all of the time. While my grief appears differently than it did those first few weeks or months, it is still a force in my life that affects me in so many ways. But, to the outside world, it is hidden for the most part.

Just like it takes getting close to the jewel to see the full image, someone has to get close to us motherless daughters to actually see our grief. Perhaps it is due to walls we’ve expertly constructed to protect ourselves. Or just trying to live our lives “normally” and move on. But, just like that image, our grief is hidden and deeply embedded inside of us. It may be grief from a death that everyone else around us has seemed to move on from. Maybe it is the invisible grief of emotional abandonment or an estrangement when the relationship looked “normal” to the outside world. It might not be obvious to those around you, but when someone gets to know you, they may be able to see the impacts of the grief.

Another thing about the projection necklaces is they may be hidden from those who are unfamiliar with the necklaces. But, I saw someone the other day wearing one and immediately recognized what it was. They have a distinct look, but it’s something you would likely miss if you didn’t know about them.

Grief can be a bit that way as well. Sometimes those who have not experienced mother loss can struggle to understand what we as motherless daughters are going through. But, if you’ve been there, you can spot it much more easily. You can see the pain, the desire for a sense of family that’s missing, a longing for a mother figure in their life, the loneliness when everyone else seems to have their mother around, and so many other emotions and struggles. A sense of community with others who have been there is so vital to our healing journey. It is one of the things I am most grateful for with Motherless Daughters Ministry. I have never felt more seen and understood than in conversations with other women on this journey.

Without community, it may feel like no one in our life gets close enough to us to truly see us. Just like most will pass by me without seeing my photo. But, we can cling to the hope that we have a God who does see the full picture. He sees it clearer than we can even see it. He understands in a way no one else can. I love the way the Message translation states Psalm 56:8. “You’ve kept track of my every toss and turn through the sleepless nights, Each tear entered in your ledger, each ache written in your book.”

God sees how our mother loss journey is something that altered our lives and continues to echo through the rest of our decisions and experiences. He does not need a projector to see our story.

One reply on “The Hidden Picture”

You hit the nail on the head. June 25 will be the four year anniversary of my Mom’s death. Alot of people think I should have moved on by now. I think I’m doing well tilsomething comes over me. For example New Years Eve when the clock was ready to hit..midnite I start crying my Mom

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