By ROBYN MAY
Motherhood is the strongest bond there is. Not even death can sever it.
When you lose a child, it doesn’t mean you stop being their mother. And in many ways, it’s very similar to the way you mother a living child.
I wanted to write a list of them – the similarities. For anyone else who has lost a child, for anyone who knows and loves someone who has lost a child. It might be an invisible kind of motherhood, loving a child who is gone, but it’s important. And it’s important you understand what it’s like.
This is how I love and mother my middle son, Xavier – the one who could only stay two weeks but remains my son.
1. You love them a little more each day.
The first moment I held my first born, I could not imagine my heart could accommodate any more love. I was bursting with it. But each day went on and each day I woke up surprised to find I loved him a little more. It was the same with all my three sons. But loving them a little more daily does not cease with death.
Every morning after Xavier left, I loved him more than the day before. In particular that first year, where the mounting love seems exponential. That love that begins when you learn you are pregnant, expands with each scan, each kick, swells when you hold them for the first time, and grows each time you even think of them. It does not go away, not ever. I do not miss him less each day, I miss him more. I do not love him less each day, I love him more. And this is perhaps the crux of why it takes a very long time to arrive in a place of peace after losing a child. The passing days do not take away the hurt. For the first few months, they only added to it. Just as I do his brothers, every day I love Xavier a little more.
2. You worry about them.
I worry about Xavier. I worry if he is happy. I worry where he is.
In the early days of grief I felt that if I just knew where he was, just knew he was okay, the pain would be so much more bearable. I worried about burying him. That he would be alone at nights. I worried about leaving him in the hands of the funeral home. I worry that others won’t treat his memory as gently as I do. Just as I do with his brothers, I will always worry about him.