Thursday, September 29, 2011
A Mother First....Please
My post received many comments. All alike comments. Mothers all, needing and wanting the same thing. To be wanted. Still.
One of the comments was from my friend Penny Riley. She was joining the conversation, relaying memories of how her oldest son Gabe had treated her for a time in his life, and how she, had treated her mother as a teenager.
Gabe was taken Home July before last. A hero lost as a casualty of war. Immediately upon reading Penny's post, my entire body came to attention, and the ridiculousness of my whining was front and center in my mind.
My next post was dedicated to Penny and her Gabe, and my reality check. What would happen next, as a result of that second post, would bring me to my knees again. This time in shame, stupidity, and great respect. Penny would post again, this time to my private in box. This is the post, not the message in it's entirety, but the most important part of her words follow next:
"Hey Sister, I saw your reply to my post and I just want to say please don't think I was trying to do anything other than still be Gabe's Mom and talk about him like always. I was not trying to teach a lesson. Please, please, please don't think that! We all know you adore your boys the way I do and the other Moms here do theirs. I was just trying to be part of the Mom conversation, to make me feel normal again. Luke hasn't gotten to the stage where he doesn't need me, but Gabe did several years ago, so that's the experience I was drawing on. I'm still his Mom. But I keep putting my foot in my mouth when I try to relate my mothering experiences. Does this make sense? I hope I didn't offend you. I was just trying to say we have all been through this (if the kid is old enough), and that we all support you and understand how sad that "not needed" feeling is when you are the one feeling it. It burns!! Anyway, I love you and I wanted to give back some support you have given me."
How do you come back from the death of a child and ever feel normal again? How do you sit with all of your friends at Ruby Tuesday's for lunch, talking about your children, your life, laughing and talking, when one of your children is no longer living? How do you ever feel 'normal' again. And how in the world can you ever forget the pain and loss, when people like me, keep reminding you that you're different now, and you will never be the same? When the conversation becomes hushed because someone realizes we're laughing about our children and good times, we think you can't, and we change the subject and leave you out.
How does Penny make people understand, she NEEDS to be normal again. She needs to be able to get mad at the child who is still living when he misbehaves without feeling guilty. She needs to be able to have a bad day and lash out at Luke without worrying will those be her last words. She needs to be able to punish Luke when he makes a bad grade or cuts class, without wondering if she's being too hard, just because she can't discipline Gabe anymore. And for goodness sakes, she desperately needs to be able to laugh and talk with all of her friends, re-live the memories she has of Gabe, and the ones she is making with Luke, just like every other Mom at the table in Ruby Tuesday's. And she needs to be able to give advice, without people begging her pardon for being a burden when asking.
Penny, you have been a gift to us all. And I know you don't want to be that gift all the time. But God picks no one lightly. Whether he's taking them Home or leaving them here. I guess it's not for us to know why he chose Gabe that day. But in turn, he gave you to all of us. All of us mothers with children of whom some days we just can't see the light. All of us mothers, some of whom have also lost children. And all of us mothers, who have reached out to you, for comfort, when their own hero's have been taken home. Mothers who are trying to re-build their lives and need your help.
Forgive me for reminding you that day, of something, some days, you would rather not have to remember. Forgive me for not allowing you to be the wonderful mother you are, and instead making you feel as if you must grieve forever. You are Gabe's mom and you are Luke's mom, always. Please feel free to sit with us any time at Ruby Tuesday's and tell us a funny story, a mad story, or a loving memory story. We would love to have another Mom at our table full of Moms just wanting to be ....a Mom.