This is part two of my series of letters to the Grieving Mom. Read part one here.
To the one whose arms are aching,
I have to tell you. You’re doing an incredible job. I know it doesn’t feel like it. I know you feel like you can barely function and I know you think that you are failing at life, but listen. You’re still standing. You’re still breathing, and from someone who knows the pain, I know how hard even that is to do some days.
You shouldn’t have to be here. It shouldn’t be this way. Your arms shouldn’t be aching, and your heart shouldn’t be broken into the thousands of pieces it now beats in. You shouldn’t have to know this pain. You shouldn’t have to will yourself to breathe. You shouldn’t have to function like a normal human being when nothing about this is normal. Nothing about it is fair. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing.
I’m so sorry you’re here. But look at you. You are so strong. You are so brave. You are holding on.
I know you feel fragile. I know you feel broken. I know you feel jaded because life didn’t treat you nicely. No one should have to say goodbye to the child they carried. No one should know the pain when their child leaves this world before them.
I know this is hard. I’m right here beside you.
I know you feel angry sometimes. It’s understandable. You watched as your perfect dreams shattered. And you would have settled for far less than perfect. You would have settled for anything if only they could just stay and not be in pain.
On the days that it’s too hard, and you find yourself at 2am sitting cross-legged on the bathroom floor, tissues crumpled in a pile beside you, whispering love and praying that they hear. In those moments, when the pain feels like it could swallow you whole, remember this: you are never, ever alone. There are few consolations in the darkest situations, but there is this: there are those who have gone before you, who are beside you, and who will come after you. People survive this. They hold on, just like you are. They grit their teeth, just like you are. They cling like hell to hope, just like you are. They claw for joy, just like you are. And they breathe in and out, moment by moment, day after day, year after year.
The pain will never subside, but a day will come when you will breathe easier. At least, that’s what I have heard. I’ll hold out for that day with you.
And as you face day after day without them, remember this: You’re still standing. You’re still breathing. You’re surviving. And this is this big one: you’re still mothering them with that strength and love, even though they are no longer in your arms.
Between the two of you is a love of which some only hear rumored. A love that spans across worlds, through time, and never wavers or falls. This is the love of a mother for the child she aches to hold. The love that keeps you holding on.
You’re still their mom, and nothing can stop that.
I know this is hard. You shouldn’t have to be here. But look at you. You’re still breathing. You’re holding on, and even with a shattered heart, nothing can stop your love.
I know they are so proud to have you as their mom.
A Momma Who Knows
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