I've never experienced it. The phone call. The knock on the door. The agonizing minutes, days, weeks, and months. Wondering if you can go on.
Waking up every morning, thinking it was a dream. Passing their bedroom and peeking in, hoping to see them, hear their breathing as they sleep. Touching anything that may have belonged to them. Wrapping yourself in their clothes, willing them to give you one more hug. Sleeping in their bed in hopes of falling asleep where they once laid their head. Trying to make sense of what has happened.
I've attended the funerals, but I haven't had to sit in the front, shielding my face from others. Wishing I could crawl in the casket and hold my child one more time.
You wonder what you are supposed to do. How do you find the courage to continue on. A life without your child.
I've watched you continue on. You teach other peoples children. I watch you treat them with a unique kindness, only known to moms who have lost a child. You listen longer, hold their hand a little tighter, and hug them harder.
You reach out to other moms who have experienced this. You put your own pain and grief aside to provide solace and comfort. You hold their hand, wipe their tears, and just listen.
I've sat with you at the table, on the other side. Held your hand and struggled to find the right words to say. Wishing I could take the pain away for just a brief moment, to give you some peace.
Days will pass and turn into years. You will find a way to remember a smile, a laugh, a gentle kiss on the cheek.
You may have only held their hand for a short while, but you will hold their heart forever. All of their memories, triumphs, heartaches, and accomplishments, will live deep in your soul.
You will continue on.
They will walk along side of you, giving you the courage to continue down your path. Reaching out for your hand. Pushing you to find the strength to put one foot in front of the other.
You never knew how strong you were, until being strong was all you could do. Being a mom is learning about strengths you didn't know you had and dealing with fears you didn't know existed.
You are a mother with every part of your body and soul. I admire the beauty, compassion, love, and courage you show. The rest of us can learn a lot from you. Your kind, gentle nature. Your ability to reach out, when all you really want to do is pull in. The way you look at life from a different perspective.
You have taught me to honor, cherish and take in every moment. Smile at the many reasons my kids bring joy to my life and learn to work through the challenges. You have showed me that there is no way to be a perfect mother, but there are millions of ways to be a good one.
Someone once said that being a mom is loving your children more than you've ever loved yourself. You are a true testament to that love.