a blessing for mother’s day.

may you find love.
enough to fill any holes.

may you find healing.
enough to cover any wounds.

may you find hope.
enough to keep your dream alive.

may everything that was taken from you, return to you as joy.

may all your failures grow into
courage.

may you find yourself brave enough to try again, and again, and again.

may you find a soft place to rest,
where you can take off everything that is not yours to carry, and

may you always be found by the light, no matter where you are.

— a blessing for mother’s day.

© Liezel Graham 2020.

Image by Kirill Pershin.
{Unsplash}.

Today is Mother’s Day in the UK and Ireland.

For many women it is a happy day where they are celebrated and loved that wee bit extra.

Happy Mother’s Day to you!

…but, if your arms are empty, or if your womb and your heart has only known loss, if you are grieving a child, grieving a mother, grieving any woman who has loved you like a mother, if you are a mum who has fallen again, and again—who knows bitter disappointment, shame and failure as friends, then I send you love today.

For the fathers who have to be mothers, too—you are doing just fine.

For the grannies, that are mums again, for the stepmums who have had to step into new shoes—you are doing just fine.

May you be found by everything that you need.

You are so loved.

liezel

do you know how beautiful brave looks on you?

courage fits everyone differently.

do you know how beautiful brave looks on you?

© Liezel Graham 2020.

Photograph by Jon Tyson.

Don’t compare your place of courage to that of another.

Courage looks different on each of us.

Vulnerability looks different on each of us.

Do you know how beautiful brave looks on you?

liezel

you are not the well.

did you also tell yourself
that you have to save
everyone

just to feel the weight of their

‘i love you’

on your skin?

…and did they also tell you,

when your eyes were still
dew soft with memories
of where you were made,

and put together in the secret places,

that

their happiness was all tied
up inside of you

with ribbons, except

they were really ropes.

and it has been impossible
for you
to
escape,

their hunger

which consumes you from the outside in, and you are

always having to smile
and keep the peace.

keep them happy
when they break.

always having to glue
things

and places
and people

right back together

when you have run out of light
yourself?

as if this were the only
thing that heaven has
called you
to do.

that when the angel stirs the pool you have to carry them
in, but

it never works.
they are never healed.
they are never, ever happy.

because you are not the water.

it is a lie.

you
are not here to save people
from themselves.

you
are not here to earn love.

to cross deserts,
and fields of thorns
for someone to draw water
from your empty hands.

just because you have a cup

does not mean
you are a well.

you are not the source,
or even the back that carries
the weight.

somehow,
you were not told
that your voice is strong,

and beautiful.

and that it can sing on
its own,

carry an entire melody
alone!

and has anyone ever told you
this,

that there is a God
for everyone,

and

it is not you.

you,
are free to go.

go and live!

— you are not the well.

© Liezel Graham 2020.

Photograph by Frank Albrecht.

I don’t like posting twice on the same day, but I really want to put this one up tonight.

You cannot be the source of someone’s happiness, peace and joy.

It is not your job.

And sometimes, we are told this from a very young age and all we know from thereon out, is that we need to keep the peace… we don’t learn that we can challenge opinions, and say ‘no’ to things that make us uncomfortable.

we become people pleasers with a skewed sense of love.

we think that we have to somehow earn the ‘i love you’s’ by being the source to people who don’t know where to find it themselves, or don’t want to find it themselves.

you are not a crutch.

you were a given a life.

go and live it!

With a grateful nod to Melissa T, for a line that I used in this poem.

liezel

you can make anything from ashes. even beauty.

so, your heart is broken

and pain has leached the sunlight from your bones.

what will you do with this gift?

— you can make anything from ashes. even beauty.

© Liezel Graham 2018.

Photography by Annie Spratt.

Yesterday, I shared this poem with a friend whose heart needed a bit of hope, that even the hard things, no—especially the hard things, often lead to wondrous things.

…and that pain, if held onto loosely, can be the substance of beauty.

liezel

{this poem will be in ‘a counting of love’}.

my granny’s arms were soft and strong.

on the floor of my grandmother’s bathroom, there is a heater spitting blue gas flames into the damp air.

i am about three years old.

i am not afraid of winter howling outside, trying to claw its wet way in through warped window frames.

not yet.

my granny lifts me from the warm, fragrant water onto the cold edge of the roll top bath.

‘careful, ouma’s got you’.

small feet happily balanced, i am taller than her for a moment—my favourite part—my arms find the papery curve of her neck. i cling to her; my face inches away from all the softness that walks out of her mouth whenever she says my name.

she covers me in baby powder from my toes to my head—a grandmother’s talisman.

years later, whenever i am asked to describe my favourite smell, i say ‘baby powder and the smell of rain’.

in that small bathroom, her arms are still firm and strong, and i am still able to trust being lifted up and held safe.

— my granny’s arms were soft and strong | i was held.

© Liezel Graham 2020.

Photograph by Siddarth Bhogra.