Please use this blog to help us remember Joshua Lee Anderson, who made the tragic and fatal decision to take his life on Wednesday, March 18, 2009. Please post any memories or thoughts you may have in the comments.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

When You Sign On To Be A Mother

I have been reading A Widow's Story by Joyce Carol Oates, a prolific writer who, like Joan Didion, has penned her "grief journey" after the unexpected death of her life-long husband.  She struggles terribly and being childless, her loneliness is acute and painful.  I expect to be writing more posts on my thoughts from this brutally honest and poignant memoir.

But with my third Mother's Day without Josh in the rear view mirror, this particular quote struck me.
"When you sign on to be a wife, you are signing on to being a widow one day, possibly."
What about when you sign on to be a mother?  My thoughts below. 
"When you sign on to be a mother, you are signing on to experiencing a love so vast and immense, it is incomprehensible until you feel it - the first time you hold your child.  For until this point, you have felt what you thought was love - for your parents, siblings and spouse.  But nothing compares with this love, a mother's love - overwhelming, fierce and immeasurable.  
You are no longer you - a woman, daughter, sister or wife - no, you have entered that sacred realm of a mother. With a love so feral, you would fight anything and anyone to protect your child. Where the decision to forgo your own life, if it meant the life of your child is ready-made, and if it came down to it, non-negotiable.  No sacrifice is too big, you would do anything."
The only problem with loving your child this much - with all your heart and soul - is that this love, which makes you a good, caring and sacrificial mother, also makes you vulnerable.  You are death, that merciless monster who could take your child away; by illness, accident, violence or in my son's case, suicide.  You never expect to bury your child and when you do, a part of you dies and is buried too.  This is the horrific "cost" of being a mother.

Is it worth it?  Well, what is the alternative?  Protect yourself by not having children?  Or if you do, hold back on your love?  No - these are not viable options.  So you just have to pray, that if the unthinkable happens, that you, with the help of faith, family, and friends can survive the immense grief, a mother's grief.

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