Two years ago our precious second son was born on May 5th at 6:28 PM. At 8:25 PM, he was pronounced dead. It sounds so short and simple when I type it here, but really those 2 hours were the most special and heart-filled moments of my entire life. That was on a Sunday evening. One week later was Mother’s Day, and it was one of the worst days of my life. We buried our son 3 days before Mother’s Day, so instead of being at home cuddling with my one week old baby, I was sitting at home one-week out from giving birth, trying to get my milk to dry up, running out of the mesh underwear, and being reminded every where that it was Mother’s Day and I didn’t have my son with me.
The whole day was awful. I didn’t even have words to speak to celebrate our moms, much less to get them a gift or a card. I think most people in my life didn’t know what to say to me, so they just avoided the subject, which only made me feel worse. It was a day where I had to truly put one foot in front of the other and just.get.through.it. I needed to get my head on the pillow that night and never repeat that day again. After trying my best to just show up on that day, I was spent in every way imaginable — physically, emotionally, mentally.
I didn’t dare look on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. My already broken heart couldn’t handle facing anything besides breathing in and out and getting through the day. I had to protect myself as best as I could. I had to survive.
This is my 3rd Mother’s Day without our Gabriel. And I miss him so much. He taught me so many things. God used him to change me. I’m a very different person now than I was before him. While this Mother’s Day will be much better than the one in 2013, it still stings. And I think that’s the best way to describe it. When you have lost a child, Mother’s Day just stings. It’s a constant reminder of the loss. It’s a bittersweet time as you celebrate the children who have made you a mother, while at the same time grieve the child you had to say goodbye to.
I wish no mom had to know this pain. I wish we could all have happy Mother’s Days where we got to squeeze all of our kids so tight, and kiss their faces all day long, and run our fingers through their hair while we checked on them before we went to sleep that night. But I don’t get to do those things with my Gabriel, and I know many other moms don’t get to either.
If you’re a mama who has lost a child, know that you aren’t alone. You are amazing for carrying on. You are awesome for celebrating your child. And it’s okay to be sad. It’s okay if Mother’s Day is a day for crying. Do what you need to to take care of yourself. You’re walking a very hard road, and you’re stronger than you know.
If you’re someone who loves a mama who has lost a child, take care of them. Be sensitive on this day. Don’t avoid them or talking about their child, but instead, remember with them. Celebrate their child. Give them a gift. Bring them flowers. Do something to let them know that they aren’t alone and that you love them and their child. Nothing means more to a mama than knowing her child is loved and remembered, and that’s what you can do to help those of us who hate Mother’s Day.
Happy Mother’s Day to all of you incredible women who are missing your children on this day.