After the birth of my first child, I looked forward to spending Mother's Day as a new mom. Each year since, my children have gone out of their way to make me feel special. Breakfast in bed is always a treat, even those years when all they could master was toast covered in peanut butter. Mother's Day meant brunch, flowers, and painted handprints on a card.
Until I lost a child, I didn't know how emotionally difficult Mother's Day could be.
When I was a child, I was very close with my Great Aunt Claire. My favorite memories of her involve the retelling of stories from her past while looking through old photographs. Even though I was a little girl, she told me about her struggles and losses as well as her joys. Aunt Claire had a child, Sarah, who passed away very young. One year on Mother's Day, a family member was wishing everyone a Happy Mother's Day, except for Aunt Claire. My aunt said, “What about me? I am a mother too.” She was already well into her eighties before she finally spoke up. At the time, I couldn't imagine the pain she held inside all those years.
The year I became a bereaved mother, I found out that the Sunday before Mother's Day is known as International Bereaved Mother's Day. This is a day for mothers who hold some or all of their children in their hearts. All mothers deserve to be recognized for the children that they will never forget.
After I lost my boys, Mother's Day, although still special, has not been the same. Years later, I think about what could have been. When I close my eyes, I can still feel the weight of Bennett and Elijah's small bodies close to mine.
My thoughts and wishes for peace go out to the mothers who carry their children in their hearts.
I will never forget.
i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
– e.e. cummings