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A Mother's Truest Might

Updated: May 14

In 2017, I wrote a short piece for my mother in honor of Mother’s Day, inspired by the sonnets of Shakespeare:

That which graces your beautiful hue

can, thus, be compared to the wonders of Earth;

the light, which is granted and gifted through you,

will be cherished and treasured as it has been since birth.

Longing for words and reaching for life,

my deepest gratitudes are a must to be sure,

for the life you’ve created despite ample strife

has seen in effect to be wonderful and pure.

To me should you be my knight of the knights,

the queen of pure love and inspiring hope,

for you are still there through the wake of all plights,

whether steadied and still or just longing to cope.

You outshine the brightest of stars in the night,

as a model of motherhood: a mother’s truest might.

At the time, like many, my mother was balancing the worlds of family, faith, and future. Facing the aftermath of a turbulent chapter in our lives, she looked ahead and took the next step forward on an unknown path. Now, following the passing of her husband of 32 years, she faces a new chapter in the story of our lives.

mother holding smiling toddler
Chris & Mom circa 1997

“Motherhood is priced Of God, at price no man may dare To lessen or misunderstand.” - Helen Hunt Jackson, 19th-century poet & writer

Not everyone has a mother who reflects the noble pursuits of love, care, and support. I have heard it said, “You were simply chosen to be strong.” To this end, I count my blessings. I am fortunate to know the intimate nature of these pursuits - in their gifts and shortcomings - through the lessons and experiences of my own parents. Some of you know my mom. Others may not know her story. In time, I believe she’ll share her complete story on her own.

In five sentences, this is who Mom is to me: 

  1. Mom is a mother of love and sacrifice - a life defined by its most complete moments with her family and loved ones in the past, present, and future. 

  2. Mom knows the gravities of immense gain and intimate loss, creating space for the existence of both amid a world of change and unknowns.

  3. Mom struggles, wrestling with the weight of what to do next in the face of adversity, and she is as human as the next person.

  4. Mom is a woman characterized by the depths of strength, resilience, humility, service, integrity, passion, music, joy, and a mission of motherhood.

  5. Mom is everything because love is everything. 

Following a humbling Mother’s Day this year that was different than all of the rest in my life, I hope to honor her journey by sharing this letter of gratitude. Please enjoy. Thank you for everything, Mom.

Dear Mom,

I don’t yet know all the words to express the gratitude and love that I hold for you in my heart. There are likely not enough in this world. Still, I hope that the strength, love, and compassion of these words parallel the gifts you’ve given to me and your loved ones. 

When I was younger, I wrote letters to you and Dad, often following a personal error, to express myself, detailing my wrongdoing, finding humility, and learning to do better. 

This letter is a little different.

Mom, you are a special, guiding light in my life. Over the years, you and Dad fostered standards of excellence that exemplified truth, hope, honor, and dedicated work. In times of strife, you were honest. You continually tried to do better. At times, you were incomplete: a work in progress; at others times, you wore badges of wholeness in your work and life. I often believed these efforts were the result of something deeper. 

It is my absolute honor to have a mother who carries herself with strong beliefs, imperfect expressions, and warm, intimate regard for the people who enter and exit through her life and the lives of her loved ones. You've become a rock in the foundations of who I am, and I can't express enough gratitude for the life you've helped me - and others - create in this world.

In his volume of discourses published in 1847, the philosopher Søren Kierkegaard once asserted, “Prayer does not change God, but it changes him who prays.”

If I knew the cure for the pain and grief we have come to know in the wake of unwelcome loss, there would be no hesitation to share it with you and the world. 

Still, each night, I find myself in gentle prayer. 

Your story is enough. You are enough. 

Inevitably, difficult times will come when it won’t feel as though you are enough or even matter; remember that this, too, shall pass. Change for the better is often the result of courageous action, however big or small in its role. Pause, and take the time for yourself. You have been there for us. We will be there for you. We love you. For what it’s worth, the love and lessons you shared with me - and with each of us in your journey - have known no limits in their possibilities. 

In my eyes, hold strong to your truest might: a mother’s love. 

Thank you, Mom, for everything. 

With love, always, 

your son,


For all the mothers who are there for us, time after time: thank you. 

Be yourself. Don’t give up. Keep love first. 

Happy Mother’s Day.

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