Sunday, April 01, 2007

Indescribable

Yesterday Ry and I attended the funeral of the 23 year old son of a co-worker. He had been crossing the street in a crosswalk with friends and family and was hit by a car. He was flown via air ambulance to a trauma centre and passed away there surrounded by his family. He was happy, in university persuing a degree in physics, had a beautiful girlfriend, a job. He had dreams of having a large family of his own one day. Of a great career. What more could a mother ask?

His 4 siblings and his mother and father all spoke at his funeral. It was standing room only and people were packed in right to the doors. The overflow, lobby and hallways were full. There was not a dry eye in the house. His family all read him letters that they had written to him. His father closed with "and as I signed every card I ever wrote you, your one and only Daddy." That's when I lost it. His mother thanked God for the privilege of being his caregiver for 23 1/2 years. As I stood at the back of the funeral home holding Ry in his carrier, swaying and bouncing, kissing his head, looking into his beautiful loving eyes, I could only cry. Cry for the parents who raised this wonderful young man and lost him. Cry for the mother who, for 23 1/2 years felt the amazing and indescribable love that I have only experienced for 4 months. Selfishly, cry out of fear that my baby will grow up and one day be hurt. I know it will happen. I hope it's closer to a scraped knee than a car accident.

I worry. I inherited it. My mom worries. My grandma worries. I wonder if I will ever have a day in my life that I don't spend time worrying about the people I love. Is it simply the fate of a mother? Am I wasting my time when it's all in the hands of God or the universe or however you want to think of it? I enjoy my life immensely. I may enjoy it even more if I didn't worry, but I can't help it. It's not debilitating, but it does go overboard at times when I dream of the horrible things that might have happened when someone is late or not answering the phone.

As I type this, I realize that this post doesn't even come close to describing how I felt or, more importantly, how this family felt yesterday. I can't put it into words. Someone more talented at writing than myself may be able to, but I have my doubts.

I do know this. You have no idea how much your mother loves you until you become one yourself. I would endure any pain or torture to save Ry from it. Without a thought. Gladly. With privilege. It wouldn't matter what it was, how much it hurt. For him, anything. Even while pregnant I loved him immensely, but it was nothing compared to the feeling that came over me when I held him in my arms. It grows more powerful every day. How do you describe the love of a mother?

Eternal. Physical. Overwhelming. Soul-deep. Heartbreaking. Ageless. Timeless. Undying. Passionate. None of those words do it justice.

How do you describe the love of a mother?

I would love to hear it. One word or an essay, it doesn't matter. I want to know.

Nicole blogs about whatever strikes her fancy at Much More Than a Mom dot com. She's a mom, wife, daughter, sister, fur-baby mama, friend, teacher, geek-in-training, fitness instructor, personal trainer, workshop presenter. She knows a lot about very little and very little bit about a lot. She pretends she doesn't care what anybody thinks, but secretly cries in the bathroom if somebody doesn't like her. She is also the founder & senior editor at The Opinionated Parent, where one of her favourite things to do is give stuff away. She's visiting as part of this month's Blog Exchange, for which we've all chosen our all-time favorite post. Read mine at Nicole's place today!

25 comments:

Alex Elliot said...

I am so sorry for your co-worker's loss. I thought your post was beautiful.

Julie Pippert said...

I think we can all pretty well imagine how you felt, but you described it quite well. How tragic. My heart goes out to the family.

As my children have grown, I've learned there is no one, simple, uncomplicated love of a mother. I love my children, I love them differently, I love them to the same depth, but I don't love them the same all the time.

chelle said...

ugh this post made me cry the first time!

Jodi said...

From one worrier to another, I totally get ya!

nutmeg said...

This is a theme in all our hearts and no matter how well you capture it (and you did) it still isn't empathy. Only a mother who has lost truly knows. Every night of my life I pray that I never will. My grandmother lost her son to cancer. I remember her words so clearly: A man is supposed to bury his mother, not the other way around...

tiffany said...

I'm a worrier too.

My step-father died suddenly of a heart attack at 49. I never thought that I would be so emotional, but the only time I cried was at his memorial service. It was too unreal.

Sorry for your co-worker's loss.

ECR said...

That's the truth. I really did not know worry or fear until I became a mother. I really relate (as I'm sure we all do) to every word you wrote here.

Anonymous said...

I am so touched by your writing and am so sad for your friend and her family. I believe that all mothers worry and fret over their children and loved ones. I know I do.
Leah

soccer mom in denial said...

It is the risk we take when we become parents - our hearts are walking outside of us. My 6 1/2 year old sons have mastered riding 2-wheeler bikes. A while ago I promised they could ride to the library by themselves (it's less than a mile) once they could do it.

Damn. They can do it now.

So I'm stalling to give them permission. What if one of them falls into the busy street? What if "the dreaded stranger" comes up to them? What if, what if, what if...

mamatulip said...

I am so saddened by this family's loss...yet, this is a beautiful post, and tribute to them.

To describe a mother's love? All-encompassing.

Julie said...

So tragic. I'm a worrier too; having kids has not helped matters.

But I gladly bear those worries in exchange for the joy of having my little ones in my life for as long as possible.

Karianna said...

Whew. How touching. Indeed, being a mother is exceptionally vulnerable.

Lara said...

wow, that was wonderfully written. i don't have kids yet, and i already love the ones i know someday i will have. i can't even imagine how much that feeling will grow when i actually meet them.

great post.

Bethiclaus said...

The loss of a young person is alway such a difficult situation.

Well written.

Michelle said...

I remember this post Nicole and how touching it was then, and still is reading it again.

Bon said...

Nicole, that was really beautifully written. you're quite right...i had no idea how much my mother loved me until i became one myself. i count myself lucky to be so loved, and to get to love like that.

as for the worrying...in a weird way, i see it as a privilege too. if they're not here, we can't worry about them. it can become all-consuming and negative, but in moderation, the worry of a mother is one of the hallmarks of a mother. it's a part of love.

i too am really sad for your coworker and her family.

SUEB0B said...

Made me cry, too.

Anne Lamott said that becoming a parent means you give up ever having another peaceful breath...so much to worry about.

Kate said...

Powerful post. If sat through similar funerals. There's nothing worse than losing a child.

L.A. Daddy said...

I now worry more than I ever have in my life. I worry every day. I haven't become obsessed but it's always there.

I can add one word: unconditional.

movin'mom said...

la daddy beat me to the word-

unconditional love!

Sacrifice

tough love

understanding

guidance

but even more the ability to give them wings and let them go!

Kimberly said...

How awful and sad for your coworkers. I simply cannot imagine. I worry too - constantly - and I was never a big worrier before. I think it is just part of being a mother and fearing so much all the things we cannot control. It scares me to death and if I think about it too much I swear I will completely lose my mind.

Girl con Queso said...

What a great post. I can't imagine what that family is feeling.

Damselfly said...

Wow, what a great post. I think about stuff like this too. But you've organized and presented those thoughts way better!

aimee / greeblemonkey said...

I did a similar post recently, so I know exactly what you mean.:

Do You Ever Get Scared?

niobe said...

A mother's love? It's making sure that there are fresh flowers on her child's grave.