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Across the country, people celebrated Mother’s Day on Sunday with flowers and dinners and various tributes dedicated to the women who brought them into the world, raised them or nurtured them throughout life. But outside the gates of cemeteries around the D.C. metropolitan area were people buying flowers and teddy bears; for these people, tears were inadequate to wash away a lifetime of memories of Mama.
“When mothers pass, no matter how old you get, you always miss your mom,” said the Rev. Wanda K. Thompson, pastor of the Ambassador Baptist Church in Southeast, D.C.
Thompson, whose mother died in 2007, said on Sunday she preached a message titled, “When Mothers Pray.”
“When we talk to children or grandchildren, I encourage them to cherish the memories and to keep the spirit of mom alive,” the Ambassador Baptist Church pastor continued. “We need to celebrate women more often because they are the backbone of the church.”
Kevin Bethea, senior minister of the East Baltimore Church of Christ, is also founder of the Maryland Christian Counseling Ministry Institute.
“What I am finding is that we are living in an age where unlike the past, the children of mothers from the ’70s and ’80s are very sensitive to loss and having a hard time coping with the loss of their mothers,” Bethea said. “In terms of dealing with grief there has never been a better time for churches to have counseling ministry.”
Bethea further explained that the COVID-19 pandemic emphasized the need for church-based counseling ministries.
“COVID interrupted people’s lives,” Bethea said. “We had a lot of deaths that we couldn’t funeralize. Only 10 people could be seated in empty cold funeral homes with nobody to comfort them.”
The Rev. Nathaniel Thomas, pastor of Forestville New Redeemer Baptist Church, said that while his church honored mothers on Sunday, he also had a special word for those who lost their moms.
“This is a rough time for many because this is the first Mother’s Day without mom,” said Thomas, who has been the pastor of the church for 30 years.
“Despite the loss, they still have the memory of her love, her sharing and caring” the New Redeemer Baptist Church pastor added.
Thomas called his mother an “encourager” and exhorted his congregation to consider cherishing precious memories of moms who have died.
“She never gave up on me. She put you on the right path,” Thomas said.“When we deal with memories of our mothers… we hold onto them long after they are gone and that will be with us forever.”