The Gift of Life, Mother's Day and Birthdays

Mary Francis 3.jpg

This post is in honor of Mother’s Day and in honor of Mary Francis and her upcoming birthday….

There are very few words I can say that would fullly convey the meaning of the gift of life, the gift of life to and for your family, or the gift of a life to others…or the deep thoughts and feelings I have in relation to my grandmother Mary Francis and of the person that she was or that she inspired me and others to be.

While my grandmother was my grandmother in my life throughout my childhood and part of my adulthood, she also served as my mother… but our relationship was even deeper than that. While every Mother’s Day I honor her and cherish her as my mother and grandmother, the woman who passed on my faith to me, the woman who empowered me to be who I am today, and the woman (besides my sister) who I could go to if I ever had a problem…there is something much deeper and more profound about Mother’s Day for me. You see, not only is Mother’s Day Mother’s Day where I celebrate my grandmother and the other women in my life for being mothers, and am a mother myself, but my grandmother’s birthday and my birthday fall around Mother’s Day every year. My grandmother’s birthday is the day after my birthday.

So what did this mean for me growing up? Almost every Mother’s Day and Birthday, that I can remember, I spent with my grandmother who served as my mother. We celebrated our birthdays together every year, as we also celebrated Mother’s Day together every year.

There is no way I can put into words, the joy present in this, the memories that were made, the values that were present, all the things we shared with each other (even on the birthdays where we may have disagreed with each other’s view on something). There is no undoing that bond. To say that I feel a loss because she is not present, would be an understatement; yet at the same time, I know I am truly blessed. She is forever with me. Every year, she also renews in me, the spirit she helped to cultivate. Every year I celebrate her birthday when I celebrate my birthday, and when I celebrate Mother’s Day. The gift of her life was and is imeasurable. There are no words to describe it. The gift of her life was and always will be priceless.

There are many things I remember about my grandmother and one of them was that she had the most beautiful Golden Hazel eyes that sparkled and shone as her soul radiated the light of God, and God’s presence. With every little act and thing she did for us, and for others, and even in the moments where she stood up for herself and what was right, her eyes shone with love, hope of eternal life, and radiated the light of her beautiful soul. Even in the moments where she was wrong, or not perfect, and on her bad days, she still showed what it truly meant to love and to give one self in love…. For this I am eternally grateful. At the end of life, her soul glistened with the deepest beauty; a beauty that can never be replaced. In all of these ways, and more, I have been truly blessed, on Mother’s Day and I am blessed on my birthday and her birthday every year.


~Who has been a mother figure in your life for you, and how can you tell them thank you this week?

~What are some of your most memorable birthdays and cherished memories of Mother’s Day and your birthday? Take the time to thank God for these moments.

~What are some ways you can show others you care about them and for them on their birthday, or remember them on their birthday? How do you honor those who have passed on, on their birthday? What is on special thing you can do to remember them?

~Always remember, you do not know how many days you ever have left on this earth, what are some things you would do today to become more fully the person you are meant to be and to show the love you have for someone, for others, and to bring love to the world?

~What are some ways you can honor your mother - biological and/or spiritual today?

~How can you be the joy present for an aging mother? How can you help an aging mother to accept her bodies limitations and look to the future with hope and joy?

~How would your ancestors encourage you to live out the future of your life? What would their wishes and dreams be for you and what are your dreams and wishes for yourself? How can you begin to let them come to fruition and create/co-create them?

~In moments of great missing or longing of my grandmother, I pray to her. I also place my hand over my heart, and remind myself that she is right here, with me. In moments of great longing for a person who has passed - feel their presence, by remembering things about them, or by doing things that remind you of them, place your hand over your heart, and say to yourself - you are right here. You are right here. Repeat it until you feel it and believe it.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers we know, and thank you for sharing in our journey.

Mary Grenchus