Trigger warning: This post deals with child sexual abuse and may be triggering for some readers.
I am grateful for many things in my life. Most recently, I have been grateful for that “one more kiss” from my son at bedtime. Sometimes on my parenting journey, I notice moments that seem more important, more intense and more heartbreaking.
Recently, my friend died of cancer. I was nursing my young child in the middle of the night and I cried that she would never get to sit in the darkness of her child’s room and settle them with her mere presence. For each of us, these moments of motherhood come and slam us, often without warning. We dust ourselves off and keep going, but we are shaken and wobbly.
Last Sunday night, I kissed my son goodnight. I felt that intensity of emotion rise in my body as I felt tears sting my eyes. I hugged him more intensely and said the same old lines as each night before, only I felt them more deeply. That night, I was remembering my old schoolmate Sam, who disappeared from our lives when I was only nine years old.
I can’t be sure if I was feeling intense sadness that she would never get to hold her own child, or if it was deep pain that her mother Tess lost all these tender moments after only having them for nine short years. I have a five-year-old and a three-year-old, and it is becoming clearer to me as I grow older that losing my children would unhinge me. This full circle of emotions is occurring to me and my old schoolmates right now.