Someone very dear to me lost their child this past Thanksgiving. The aching in my heart for this mother and her family is constant and intense, and yet I know that it cannot compare to the heartache my dear friend must be feeling.
If it were anyone else, I would be surprised by the strength and grace with which my friend is handling this loss, but with her I am not surprised. She is the embodiment of spirit, awareness, strength and dignity to which I aspire. She is who I want to be when I grow up. Even in her grief her heart remains open.
When I first heard the news, I experienced the usual emotions; shock and disbelief, sadness and anger. Almost immediately after my only thoughts were: I would die if I lost my child. This could happen to me. This can never happen. What can I do to make sure this never happens? And then the unsettling answer: Nothing.
I know that many mothers have lost children. Most of those mothers have lived through it. Many of them manage to live beautiful fulfilled lives. I admire these women so much as I marvel at their strength and wonder if I could ever possess it.
Since becoming a mother my heart has grown to sizes previously unimaginable. This new giant heart of mine feels big and strong enough to wrap my sweet baby inside and hold him there forever, but it is also very soft and tender. Since his birth I can’t help but see every person I meet as someone’s child.
It is perhaps silly, but I find myself saying, “This person is someone’s baby.” As if I didn’t know that before. Obviously, I did, but there is a difference in knowing something intellectually and feeling something deep within.
This new perspective is very useful if I find myself getting annoyed or feeling impatient with someone. Telling myself that this person is someone’s child triggers compassion instantly.
But in situations where I observe a person suffering or in pain, my giant tender mother’s heart just bleeds. I simply cannot bear it.
I’m still new at this mothering thing, and new to this expanded love and heart-consciousness. I know that it is one of the greatest blessings of motherhood, to feel this kind of love. But it is also very scary to be so raw much of the time.
Is this my new state of being? Will I always weep so easily and feel everything so acutely? Or will I learn how to manage this powerful heart; to find a place of open-hearted equanimity?
What would I do if I lost my baby? I hope I never have to find out the answer to that question. I also hope that the mothers who have faced the loss of a child feel the giant tender love of mothers everywhere, enveloping them and holding them there. Those of us who cannot know your pain because we have not experienced it, feel the ache and cry for you. Those that do know your pain because they too have experienced it, know your ache and cry with you. Either way, you’re not crying alone.
Has motherhood made you feel more connected with others?
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Ms V. in South Korea.
Photo credit to Joe Penna. This photo has a creative commons attribution license.