A Mother Is Always A Mother

I love being a mother. But now I am the mother of a child that has died and that makes Mother’s Day very hard. It’s a terrible day for those of us who have lost a child. Other days of the year I find I can make it a few hours without thinking about my loss. Other days of the year I can pretend that I am an ordinary person and that life is normal, but not on Mother’s Day. Mother’s Day is that “slap in the face” reality that my oldest child, my first born is gone. I have slowly come to terms that I will never feel complete without her.

This year will be my second Mother’s Day without Myesha. It’s been 667 days since I heard Myesha’s voice from her lips.  667 days since I ran my fingers through her hair and curled up next to her in the hospital bed once last time.  667 days since I laid my head on her chest and took in as many deep breaths as possible because this would be the last time I would smell her scent. 667 days since death became something very real to me. 667 days since the machines slowly flat lined, a squealing sound that will haunt me forever……

As each holiday comes and goes I find myself trying to convince myself that I can make it through the day without crashing. More often than not though I’m exhausted at times from putting on a happy face when my chest is aching from the burden of pushing tears back. Mother’s Day is supposed to be a day of celebration, but it’s hard to celebrate when one of your children is gone. I try convincing myself that this will be just another day, but that’s nothing more than a lie I tell myself as a coping mechanism. The truth is, it still hurts.  It will always hurt.

Understand that it’s not just ‘the day’ that makes it hard. Often it’s the days leading up to and following it that weighs me down. Grief is so unpredictable that it’s scary to make plans for Mother’s Day because I’m not sure how bad my heart will hurt. The anticipation and the let down is very exhausting. The anxiety of being surrounded by people and feeling obligated. I’m not sure if I’ll even feel like being around people. I’m not sure that I will even want to get out of the bed. But maybe, just maybe, being surrounded by people will force me to try and ignore the pain once again and just push through the day.  I really just don’t know. It’s the unknowing, the pressure, that is so overwhelming as the day draws near each passing year.

My love as a mother will never change. I will love Myesha the same on Mother’s Day as I do on any other day.  I will continue to miss her just as much.  I will miss my breakfast in bed that she always made me.  I will miss the way she would rally her sister and brother’s together to make sure the house was cleaned and I didn’t have to lift a finger.  I will treasure all the Mother’s Days gifts that I have found recently from when she was just a little girl in school.  I will pull these memories close to my heart and keep trying my hardest not to forget any of them.  I will tell everyone how thankful I was to be Myesha’s mom for 18 years.  I will continue to hold her close to me even through death.

I am a mother.  My grief is real….

Mommy LOVES YOU Myesha Raven-Symone Reed

***A mother is always a mother. If you know a mother whose child has died, at any age, please acknowledge her motherhood as well as her pain. The greatest gift for a bereaved mother on Mother’s Day can be the simple, but hugely powerful, recognition of her motherhood. Even though our children have died, we are still mothers—to all of our children. The simple act of recognition allows a bereaved mother the validation she so often seeks and sadly so often finds missing. A hug and a “Happy Mother’s Day,” even if that seems improbable, could mean more than anyone could imagine. Talk about her child. Use her child’s name in conversation, no matter how brief. Many bereaved parents long to hear other people speak their child’s name after he or she has died. Many non-bereaved people assume that if they mention the child, this will somehow “open the wound” or “remind” us of the loss. You can trust that we are already thinking about our children and that the wound is ever-present. Our children are never, ever far from our hearts and minds.  One of the greatest fears for a bereaved parent is that no one, except for us, will remember our children. If you have a special memory of a child, send a card with a story of that memory enclosed. It will likely be a cherished treasure. Even a card simply wishing a mother a happy and peaceful day is a gesture that is greatly appreciated.