Recently, I attended a fundraiser for a coworker who lost her 17-year-old son to suicide three years ago. It would have been his 21st birthday. This woman and I would never have been friends if not for the fact that both of our sons chose to end their own lives. My son Adam died at 22.
A mother’s love for her child is different than any other. Mothers are there from the moment of conception. Those children are instantly a part of us. We nurture them and look forward to their arrival. We put up with morning sickness and back pain and childbirth just to welcome an amazing new person into this crazy world.
We love them, nurse them, bathe them, kiss them, sing to them at 2 am, and take them to the doctor for well and sick child visits. We hurt for them when they are teething or have diaper rash or earaches. We make holidays and birthdays special for them because we want them to be happy and enjoy life. The life we gave them.
The first vaccination … the first boo-boo … the first ear infection … the first virus … the first scolding … the first hurtful thing said to them … the first day of school … the first fight … the first ER visit. We cried along with them.
The first smile … the first step … the first word … the first belly laugh … the first happy meal … the first birthday party … the first Halloween. The first Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. The first spring when we can go for a walk and feed the ducks … the first day of kindergarten … the first day of school. We smiled along with them.
And we would do it all again if we had the chance. If we only had the chance. So please remember and pray for the mothers who not only lost a child but a part of themselves. Far from being what was once labeled as “the weaker sex,” they are the strongest people you will ever know. To continue breathing, living, and loving takes enormous strength after the loss of a child.
I am the strongest person I know. I am also the weakest person I know. But somehow, I keep on breathing and giving because that is what I do. Because I am a mother and always will be.