The first Mother's Day after Ben died, I remember someone telling me, well, at least you are a mom. And yes, I was. I've never had to deal with Mother's Day with one dead child and no living children. I'm pretty sure that would be akin to one of Dante's levels of hell. And that day was hard; my husband had been away on business (out of the country, no less) for two weeks, and was traveling home on Mother's Day. My daughter had been particularly sweet that weekend - she seemed to understand that I needed a little extra love that year. I held it together by mostly not thinking about it until people started to call me and see how I was doing.
The second Mother's Day after Ben died, I realized that this was it - no matter how many years went by, two, 10, 33, 50 - no one was going to phone me up to ask how I was doing anymore. But I was going to remember that one of us was missing, one of us was not here to give me hugs and kisses, handmade cards, or breakfast in bed. That's it - you get the first year, and then you're done. Or, that is, the rest of the world is done. I'll still miss him in 20 years, and think of him on Mother's Day. Will anyone else, besides my husband?
And for those of you who are reading this, who are missing your babies, whether you have living children or not - I am so, so sorry for your pain. You are mothers, not the way you should be, not the way you want to be - and I honor you, and your children, this Sunday, and always.
One thing I will do this weekend to honor Ben is go to this website and light a candle. For every virtual candle lit in honor of a baby who never made it home, the website Memory-of.com will donate $1 to First Candle, the support organization for parents who have lost children. First Candle's mission is to make sure every baby makes it to their first birthday healthily and happily. You can light a candle any time in the month of May. Memory-of.com is also donating $1 to Susan G. Komen for the Cure for every candle lit here in memory of a mother, grandmother or godmother who has died. I will also light a candle for Elizabeth, who I am missing terribly right now.
Hugs to all of you missing your babies.