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Jesus often wrote about the characteristics of children. He defined them as being open to life. What He meant was they accepted life as it was in the present moment and they were receptive to what stood before them. Instead of looking at the dirt or grime, or ugliness in things, He knew they had this incredible ability to get down to the essential elements and see it for what it actually was. They could discern a lot of the time who was being honest and who was lying. He knew that children could be incredibly kind and loving and that they had this enormous capacity for forgiveness. They wanted  to and needed to believe in goodness because they wanted to live in a beautiful world, a kind, and caring world. Probably because they needed that to exist for their own survival. To live in an ugly world full of cruel, hateful people was something children wanted no part of. They flourish by seeing sunsets, hearing birds sing and  watching them build nests. They become nourished by sunlight, light spring rain, and trampling through leaves of every color of the rainbow in the fall. They need the feel of snow between their fingers and the sound of ice crackling underneath their boots in the winter time. In the spring, in order for their souls to grow, they need to smell and touch flowers, hug trees, pick up acorns and hold them in their tiny hands. They need to inhale the sweet scents of spring and crave the sun’s warmth as well as the light cool breezes of summer days. They must have the love of a pet to give to them unconditional love. They need all these things. Most of all they need a mother’s love.

As a baby, they learn rapidly that they can’t survive alone. They cannot care for themselves because they haven’t the skills to do so. They need the warmth of their mother’s body, hands gently cradling their tiny heads, fingers touching their tiny hands and feet. They need to know they are a priority, that eyes light up when they are in the room, that soft sounds will soothe them when they are afraid, and hands will comfort them when they are sick. They learn to rely on their mothers and this reliance never ends. It is always there underneath the surface and affects us all our lives. Mothers teach children to have faith someone will come and someone will hear when they need help.  Mothers teach children to be fair, to be responsible for their own actions, to learn from them what it means to be human. Good mothers teach children survival skills, support them in their quest for separateness, and their struggle to find their own identities. They give guidance when children establish their own families and often help with child care.

When a woman looses a mother, no matter how old she is, the loss is devastating.  It shakes us to the core and affects us for decades. There is such pain and hurt in such a loss as death. But for those who lose their mother’s to the ravages of old age or betrayal, the loss is inconsolable.