My prayer for you is that you will find comfort through your faith and find a tangible task to approach grief: Complete something your loved one didn't finish on earth. My friend, Linda Kurcab honored her mother by providing a comprehensive list of accomplishments to the Women's Memorial in Washington D.C. 


Her late mother, Roberta Schilbach Ross was a flight nurse during World War II and received the distinct honor of a DFC, (Distinguished Flying Cross) for completing 200 flights over the Himalayan Mountains in the China Burma India theatre. Linda's mother was too modest to share her extensive accomplishments with the Women's Memorial group.   Another friend of mine plans to learn how to knit so she can finish the sweater her mother had started. 


Perhaps the unfinished project involves reading a novel your loved one never had a chance to finish or putting the final pieces of a jigsaw puzzle together. Or perhaps the unfinished dream is to visit a place that your loved one didn't get to see - Paris, London, or even a local tourist attraction in town. 


Although completion of the task will not bring closure, it will bring closeness to that loved one. You will have done something that would have remained undone, unsung, untied, unseen, unknown, unraveled, unfinished. Even though the emotional hornets will still buzz, they will feel farther away as you move forward.

Mother's Day Memoir


For Mother's Day 2005, my first book will be published A Mother's Heart Knows (J. Countryman, a division of Thomas Nelson). Although this gift book for mothers was inspired by my two daughters, I dedicated it "in loving memory of my mother, Carolyn Rhea, whose heart blessed me and inspired me to follow Christ." 


As a mother and a daughter, I realize now that one of the most poignant verses from the book is the following:  "A mother's heart knows how to stretch and to grow. A mother's heart knows when it's time to let go." Letting go is an essential part of being a mother. "Let go to let grow" should be a motherhood motto. A mother lets go of her toddler's hand so first steps can be taken alone. A mother lets go of the bicycle's handlebars so the child can ride alone. A mother lets go of the apron strings so her young adult can leave the childhood home. By letting go, the mother and child experience their own purposeful growth.


Even though she was not conscious on the evening of April 15, 2003, my mother's heart knew that it was God's time. Surrounded by her children, she "let go to let grow." Her growth was immediate: Her faith gained eternal sight as she met the Heavenly Father.

My growth, however, has not been immediate, but rather a painful stretching process. Yet, this emotional workout has an ultimate purpose - strength and stamina through God's grace to finish His course for my life.


Margaret McSweeney lives with her husband and two young daughters in a Chicago suburb. Her book, A Mother's Heart Knows was published by Thomas Nelson in 2005. Visit her website at for links to her book, as well as her mother's book, When Grief is Your Constant Companion. E-mail Margaret at