~ by Erma Bombeck
If you’re looking for an answer this Mother’s Day to why God reclaimed your child, I don’t know. I only know that thousands of Mothers out there today desperately need an answer as to why they were permitted to go through the elation of carrying a child and then lose it to miscarriage, accident, violence, suicide, disease or drugs.
Motherhood isn’t just a series of contractions; it’s a state of mind. From the moment we know life is inside us, we feel a responsibility to protect and defend that human being. It’s a promise we can’t keep. We beat ourselves to death over that pledge. “If I hadn’t worked through the eight month.” “If I had taken him or her to the doctor when he had a fever.” “If I hadn’t let him use the car that night.” “If I hadn’t been so naïve, I would have noticed he was on drugs or needed help with depression.”
The longer I live, the more convinced I become that surviving changes us. After the bitterness, the anger, the guilt and despair are tempered by time, we look at life differently. While I was writing my book: “I Want to Grow Hair, I want to Grow Up, I want to Go to Boise,” I talked with Mothers who had lost a child to cancer. Every single one said that death gave their lives new meaning and purpose.
And who do you think prepared them for the rough, lonely road that they had to travel? ---their dying child. They pointed their Mothers toward the future and told them to keep going. The children had already accepted what their Mothers were fighting to reject. Even those children who died a sudden death are able to spiritually touch their parents and help them live on.
The children in the bombed-out nursery in Oklahoma City have touched many lives. Workers who had probably given their kids a mechanical pat on the head without thinking, that morning were making calls home during the day to their children to say, “I love you.”
Joy and life abound for millions of Mothers on Mother’s Day. It’s also a day of appreciation and respect. I can think of no Mothers who deserve it more than those who had to give a child back.
In the face of misery they ask, “Why me?” but there is no answer. Maybe they are the instruments who are left behind to perpetuate the lives that were lost and appreciate the times they had with their children. They are the ones who help pick up the pieces when tragedy occurs and others have lost their children.