And for all the mothers who have lost a child and suffer, daily, the agony of that loss, I remind you that we don't own the tiny creatures we've brought into the world.....and we should be on our knees, thankful, that we have known them at all, for however brief a moment. They are gifts. Rejoice in them. They can never be taken away, not even through death.
I lost my son in the most unimaginable way, his own suicide. Not a day passes that I don't think of him, and I ache to hear his voice and one of his incredibly funny jokes. The "what if's" used to plague me constantly. What if he had health insurance and could have continued his medication regime for depression? What if the Veteran's Hospital had had a bed open and he could have been admitted the day he was released from a psychiatric ward after his first suicide attempt? What if someone had been there to advocate for him because depressed people don't care enough to advocate for themselves? What if he had never joined the Army in the first place? What if I had provided a better future for him?
But what if I had never known him at all? What if I didn't have a beautifully kind daughter-in-law and two wonderful granddaughters because he made some remarkable choices in his life. He had gotten his pilot's license only two months before he killed himself. It seemed he was capable of going after his dreams, but just did not believe in himself enough to capture them.
Life beats us down. Love picks us up. Without the love of a great many people, I would not have survived my son's death. And so, on Mother's Day, I remind all of you that the greatest gift you can give is your unconditional love to your children. That, and that alone, is the most important thing they will ever receive from you.
My daughter buys me lunch and a couple of stiff Bloody Mary's. She hands me $100 bill, telling me it is from her and her brother. I hold back tears, something at which I've become so very adept. The missing my son part just never ever goes away. We head out to the casino floor. I donate $60 to the tribe and win $108, she wins $56. We leave after an hour. It is not a large sum of money I come home with, but it keeps Discover Card off my back for another thirty days. I am content. I want for nothing. I am surrounded by people I love and who love me back. I cannot ask for more. And sometimes, a Bloody Mary can make our secret pain a little more tolerable, especially on the "what if" days. I'm thankful I can manage my pain without alcohol, though. I'm a terrible drinker, throwing up and passing out well before my bar tab could ever reach $30. I suffer terrible hangovers after three cocktails.....so I try never to drink more than a good glass of red wine. But we all have our moments....and for me, Mother's Day is one of them. Salud.