"I was the kind of mother, who on the eve of my kids’ first day of school, put on a special “Back to School” night of fun. I wasn’t the originator of the idea, it was stolen from a dear friend. We did face masks, painted nails, took turns in the massage chair, had pizza and when Daddy got home we had a dance party. The night ended with an introduction of our family’s “theme” for the year and my husband giving each child a special blessing. The decorations and food from that night were not anything you would find on Pinterest. Crafting and decorating are not in my skill set. My intent was to make sure my children felt loved and excited for the new school year. I was successful because they didn’t even notice how “not perfect” all the small details were.
The next morning my husband, Gary, checked his schedule and realized a patient had been added to his morning. Consequently, he wasn’t able to go with me and drop the kids off at school, like he wanted too. He requested that I remind him to block it off the following year because he would like to go.
The next 24 hours were literal hell. Full of hope and utter devastation. I had to transform into the kind of Mother who sat her four young children down, in a small private waiting room, and tell them that their Daddy was not coming home. I had to be the Mother, in the midst of her own devastation, who consoled her children as they cried for their Daddy.
Then I had to become the Mother who decided if seeing their Daddy hooked up to machines, seemingly lifeless would be too much for our children. Or if they needed to see him and say goodbye and have closure.
As a Mother, I couldn’t just cease to exist like I wanted too. I couldn’t stay in bed all day and cry. I had to get up and be there for them. No one else could comfort them like I could. No one else could take my place. Sure, I had help with meals, baths, getting them to bed etc., but I was still their Mom. They needed ME for emotional support. No one can replace a Mother’s hug.
I could never adequately describe what it feels like to see your children stand by their Daddy’s casket. To say goodbye to someone who they loved and thought was invincible. I stood by my husband right before they closed his casket and promised him I would keep on fighting. I would fight no matter how bad it hurt, I would do everything I could to take care of our children. I have yet to give up, no matter how many times life knocks me down. I keep peeling myself off the floor every.single.time. Even in those times when I thought it was impossible.
As the days went by, I became the Mother who packed up her home and moved to another state. I had to be the Mother who admitted I needed help raising my children. Alone, I couldn’t meet all their needs just yet. I struggle every day with my own grief as well as trying to give them resources and a space to grieve on their own.
I am also dealing with the everyday, eat your veggies, brush your teeth, stop calling each other names. I am an ONLY parent. I don’t get to discuss strategies or get to tag my partner for help when I feel overwhelmed and exhausted. My children get me up each morning- no, like LITERALLY. When my baby cries to get out of his crib, I can’t roll over and say… your turn!
I am a Mother whose children saved her life. There were moments so dark and heavy that ending the pain was all I could think about. The only thing that stopped me was thinking that my kids would grow up and think that they were not enough for me. That they were not a good enough reason to live.
I feel like I am failing at this Mom gig constantly. Am I showing enough emotion around my kids so they know it is okay to cry and be upset? Am I showing too much emotion and ruining the day because I can’t keep it together? Am I giving them enough attention? Am I giving them enough resources to help get them through this and not ruin them forever? Do they feel loved? Are they on electronics too much? (absolutely) Do they eat enough fruits and veggies? (absolutely not) It can be so overwhelming.
This Mother’s Day my young kids won’t know to make me breakfast in bed. I won’t get the homemade crafts and questionnaires that my Husband usually helps them with. I will still have to change the diapers, make the meals and clean up the messes. This Mother’s Day will not be about any of that. My work as a Mother will pay off when they get older and can articulate they felt loved growing up. When they tell me they can’t believe that despite them and I being so young when Dad died, I was still able to create a beautiful life for them. That is what I am working towards as a Mother. That isn’t saying I wouldn’t mind breakfast in bed now and again.
I never thought I would be a widow with four young children at the age of 30. I get through it by remembering that I was CHOSEN to be their Mother. I remember that God knew the plan, he knew what heartache we would face and he still trusted me with these four precious children. So, when I can’t do it for myself, I do it for them. Even if I am not a perfect Mom, I am perfect for them."