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A Walk In These Shoes

We are still mothers- just walking in heavier shoes. With each step we honor our child, honor their purpose, and honor our journey.

I walked tirelessly, searching for understanding. I walked and walked until I got lightheaded and my knees began to buckle. I heard a voice in my head say "understanding doesn't necessarily bring peace...and true peace is found within pain." I stopped hoping for understanding and began looking for signs that I was on the right path to purpose. A new and evolved purpose that can only be found past the point of no return... The point where I have lost too much to not make it mean something.

I walked through the cemetery wondering how many people have had to walk in these shoes. These shoes that were heavy and hurt with every belabored step. How many mothers had blister covered feet from this tumultuous journey through loss and love? I wondered how many mothers were acquainted with the dull longing in her soul that never dissipates. Mothers who can't cry when she needs to and can't stop crying once she starts. Mothers who are so tired but can't seem to sleep at night.

I walked around the cemetery looking at dates on headstones getting emotional as I saw how little time was represented by each dash. I imagined who they were and what dreams they left behind for their loved ones to embrace and fulfill. Had their mothers taken on their dreams as her own with a life mission to keep her baby's legacy alive? I wondered how their mothers were doing. Was she able to sleep through the night? Was she blaming herself for not being able to save her precious child? And how many times had she tried to bargain with God to wake up from this dream, learn the lesson that it taught, and have life restored? Had she been able to find her purpose again?

I wept for her. I wept for the mothers who have been visiting this cemetery more years than they got to have their child here on earth. I wept for the mothers who had been searching for happiness after loss for years, only to find that happiness is deceiving...well actually smiles are. Smiles are often mistaken for happiness. I wondered what Mona Lisa had lost...and if she had to smile through this kind of pain while society celebrated around her.

"Happy Mother's Day!" Happy? Happy isn't really a goal of mine currently. I desperately desire peace daily. I need it. I search for it in the quietest of moments and in the darkest of times. Will I ever truly be happy again? I am not sure. I feel happiness on some level, in some moments...but its not the "happiness" I knew is something different.

As I walked through the cemetery I came across grave after grave of children who were called home before their mothers. I knew I wasn't the only one walking in these shoes. I always imagined my children would visit my grave not vice versa. I felt immense pain...and through my tears I celebrated them. I spotted pinwheels and teddy bears and stopped at grave after grave of innocent little children who left their mothers behind. Behind...but on the same path...because eventually we will join them in paradise.

I always thought Mother's Day was about honoring the mothers. Today a thought hit me. I want to honor my children. I would not be worthy of being celebrated on Mother's Day if it were not for the children who made me a mother. Being their mother is my proudest achievement and I loved every moment of it. I am still their mother. If I had to choose between having my son and carrying this pain forever or never having had him in my life and never knowing this pain, I would choose to have him again and again. His love is the best gift I have ever received and I can't imagine who I would be without having experienced a love so pure even if only for a short time. My children made me a better person and so many other people have been touched by them through me...and through God. I am so thankful to God for allowing me the opportunity to mother 2 of the most precious beings ever created. My boys. Well...His boys. I am thankful to have played a part in their lives and in their being blessings in the lives of others. We are not only blessings to others during our lives but also after our departure. I choose to honor my dearly departed son by sharing his light and letting his legacy live for eternity.

I want to honor those who have walked in these shoes. I would never know I could survive this if it weren't for those who have survived before me.

To all the mothers who have to celebrate motherhood through memories I honor you. We are mothers. We know love deeper than those who have never been forced to walk in these shoes. The pain we feel has intensified the love that already existed in a way that can't be explained. We are better even though we feel worse. We have an awareness that has come at the most undesirable cost. We've walked miles of this tumultuous terrain and we are still standing. We carry our kids with us, not on our backs, but in our hearts. We are not empty. It feels that way because language has no way to describe how full our hearts are. Our hearts are full of love, full of memories, full of pain that is the conduit for purpose and peace. These aren't the shoes any of us would have chosen. If we could go back to the fork in the road we would have all chosen the other path. But here we are...Connected to life and love in a way that we could never have achieved without our pain. I did not ask for this path but I walk it with purpose. And my child's purpose lives through me. If I give up I'm letting him down. Living with purpose is my last act of love for him.

We are still mothers- just walking in heavier shoes.

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