Every day day I Pray for Mum’s silently needing to hold that cherished Child in their arms.
I saw this year’s first advertisement for Mother’s Day gifts. It was like being impaled with a blunt spear. The sensation was real. The pain was momentary, but severe. Like my insides cringed for me. All my organs did a simultaneous dry heave. Literally gut wrenching.
But, I can proudly say I held my own. My face remained blank and I had no verbal outburst. Every time I can effectively restrain myself I’m legitimately amazed. It’s not that it hurts any less, it’s just that I’m getting better at not outwardly breaking down.
No woman ever thinks that her first Mother’s Day as a mom will be celebrated without her baby in her arms. At least, I never did…which I suppose is funny when one considers that I’m generally thought of as a harsh realist at best and an eternal pessimist at worst. Funnier still when one recalls my most recent profession. I spent ten years in emergency medicine, the last six of those years serving as a NYC Paramedic, during which time I became intimately involved with death. Death itself was so commonplace. Watching someone die, despite my best efforts to delay the inevitable, became as normal as waving to your neighbor when you see them pulling out of the driveway. So now, I can see death everywhere. And I’m pretty at peace with it. I mean, the logic of earthly finality is sound. I can picture the realistic ends of all my loved ones lives. I’ve even imagined my own many more times than is reasonable, healthy, or sane to admit to. But still, I never thought of my baby dying, and then having to live on to see my first Mother’s Day without him. Maybe that makes it harder for me to take this. I could envision everyone’s end but his…probably because I couldn’t handle it.
But here we are. Rather, here I am, without Jacob. And I guess that’s my point. Though I’ll be with my own beloved mother and some family on this upcoming festival of motherhood, I’ll probably be feeling completely alone and totally out of place. And I won’t even have my Grams to comfort me because this will be the first Mother’s Day of my life without her. The weirdness of having no living child on this holiday will be compounded by my sudden lack of grandparents. I’ll miss seeing her wear that corsage my mama orders from the florist for her every year.
I close my eyes and imagine the three of us; me, Jacob, and Gram. With perfect clarity and HD quality I can see us standing there in my mind. I consider the options carefully, thinking of how each one carries its own hefty set of ramifications. My decision is easy to come to, but hard to live with. If I had to choose which of the three of us would have to spend Mother’s Day alone, or at least feeling like they’re alone, I would pick myself.
I would never want my sweet baby boy to live a Mother’s Day without his mommy. I can’t stand the idea of him being in elementary school, making a card for the mother he never got to know. It brings tears to my eyes to imagine his face as he watches the other kids run into their mothers’ arms. No child should live through that kind of sadness, least of all my baby.
And my dear grandmother, who’s only ever concerned herself with the needs and comforts of others, would never deserve to feel the sting of loneliness on any day, but least of all Mother’s Day.
Not that I have power over such things, but if the choice was mine, and one of us three was fated to hurt terribly, it would and should be me. God made the right call. Grams raised me to believe in self-sacrifice for causes greater than the self. My own mother has shown me time and again that she would take my pain away if she was able. She would carry the load herself so that her baby’s back, my back, would be unbroken and unburdened. But she can’t, because the load I carry is for my own child. I will hurt so Jacob, who was the only truly and purely innocent soul I ever touched, won’t have to. I’ll be sad so Gram, who gave me everything just by smiling every time I walked into the room, won’t have to be. My mom is a great mom because of how she wants to hurt for her kid, instead of her kid. The only way I can be a good mommy to Jacob now is to carry this pain for him, and carry on.
If I had to determine who would bear the brunt of this situation, I’d pick me. This load is mine to haul until The Lord calls me home. That’s not too far off when you think about it. It’s only a lifetime.