~ A mother is only as happy as her saddest child ~
In the movie, Loving Leah, a story about love and loss in a Jewish family, the mother said to the daughter, “A mother is only as happy as her saddest child,” a line I thought was quite profound. As I listened to the exchange between the mother and her recently widowed daughter, the phrase instantly made sense to me. Even though their circumstances were different from mine they fit within my personal story of loss. Immediately it drew me back to a time of horrific tragedy and deep sorrow.
“A mother is only as happy as her saddest child” was my personal truth when my firstborn was alive. His sadness was my sadness; his worries, my worries. He was always on my mind as I pondered ways I might lend a helping hand. I admit that I worried about him a lot, that is, up until he ended his pain. His sadness is now all mine. My sad story began where his sad story ended.
My firstborn died a number of years ago. Having lots of time to process missing him and reflecting on what may have led him to take his life, I believe that he was, in part, filled with deep sadness for what he thought his life should have been. Lost loves likely led him to feel he would never have what he wanted most: a home to share with a loving wife and surrounded by children. Probably, like many in his age group, he longed to have a family of his own which he thought would never happen.
It puts my heart in emotional overload when I attempt to grasp the pain my son must have been in. The words of pain he did not share were symbolically transferred to my heart upon his death. At the beginning of my sorrow my brain was too foggy to have words, but a few years later I began to write. My writings became a healing balm for my heart.
When my firstborn tragically lost his life to suicide, the pain of inconceivable magnitude could find no way to escape, so it turned inward. It burned up any feelings of love I had in my heart and became the ashes of hatred. It burned against God because there was no one else to blame. All my pent-up guilt, bitterness, and rage became like cancer and ate into my soul.
I had no job to occupy the daylight hours like everyone I knew, so I had no one to confide in during those long, slow days. Because I blamed God, I didn’t feel like talking to Him. I had nowhere to turn. My mind raced with such questions as, why did my boy have to die? Why is my mind muddled and confused now when it was crystal clear before I lost my son? How could a split-second decision change me forever? Will love ever return? I couldn’t love. I didn’t deserve to love. My firstborn, who I loved more than life itself, had died on my watch. Didn’t that make me a poor excuse of a mother? I felt burned out. Hollow inside. There was nothing left. My son’s decision left my family in tatters. I lost my son, my God, and my capability to love those left behind in a millisecond. My life, as I knew it, had shattered into a billion bits.
Emotions ran high those first few days when family and friends gathered to give love and support. Some tried to muffle the emotional pain with anger. Others seemed to be looking around for the “murderer,” but could find no one who fit the description. In the absence of blame, conversations shifted away from my loss to other topics less sensitive and painful, but I was not ready to think about everyday-life stuff. I was neck-deep in the quicksand of grief and could barely focus on anything going on around me.
Tenderly we laid our precious son and brother in his final resting place with all the love and dignity we could muster. Some family attended while others sulked and refused, heaping even more pain on our family.
My firstborn will never again speak to me on this earth, but he no longer feels the pain he did while alive. He does not know of my mourning. He does not see me place fresh flowers on his grave and wipe away tears. He cannot read the words of hope engraved on his marker. His suffering on earth has ended. Peace, which eluded him in life, is his in death.
Just as I ache for my child I know you ache for yours, and I am so sorry for your suffering. I suspect I will mourn my loss until Jesus returns, but therein lies my hope! My hope is in Jesus Christ, Son of the living God! I rest in His promise of heaven where there will be no more death, mourning, crying or pain (Revelation 21:4). It is a day I long for, hope for, live for.
Jesus said to her, I am [Myself] the Resurrection and the Life. Whoever believes in (adheres to, trusts in, and relies on) Me, although he may die, yet he shall live. John 11:25
Scripture shared from Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)