One of the most meaningful and loving moments a mom (or dad) can experience with their child is comforting them in their time of need.
Holding them tight in your arms and telling them “everything will be all right” after scraping a knee, having a bad dream, when a boy breaks their heart, or even when the dog eats their Barbie’s leg off is comforting for parents as well. It gives us a sense of purpose. A sense of worth as a caregiver. Knowing that someone depends on you that much for comfort and love is worth it all.
This past month, tragedy struck our family in a way that “only happens to other people, not us.”
Suicide. My nephew, my daughters’ cousin.
[quote float=”right”]This past month, tragedy struck our family in a way that “only happens to other people, not us.” [/quote]
While I tried to wrap my head around it all myself, my first thought was, “How do I tell my girls?” They were scattered in all different directions, one married and living in Des Moines, one away at college in Missouri, and one here, but in school. How am I going to hug them and tell them “everything is going to be alright” over the phone?
With the worry of social media outlets getting to them first, I decided to call each of them and tell them the news of their cousin. The oldest was struck hardest, I think, as they were the same age. My middle daughter was struck silent while my youngest was struck down with tears. They all responded differently on the outside, but I knew they hurt the same on the inside.
The day of the service, we sat together crying, hugging, and remembering the fun they had together. We were able to visit with relatives they had not seen in awhile. But, it was what happened as people were leaving and it was time to go, that made me realize that my relationship with my daughters had taken on a new direction. As I broke down one more time, saying goodbye to my nephew, I felt arms around me, comforting me, with three voices saying “Mom, it’s going to be all right.” They guided me back towards the entrance of the church, held my hand, caressed my back and said, “He knew you loved him.”
On our long drive back to Iowa, the mood was quiet in the car for the first hour or so. We talked about their cousin for a bit, and also how I always was there for them, to always know they could confide in me…about anything. My oldest daughter was the first to respond by saying, “We know mom, but just remember we are always here for you, too.”
The tables had turned, but in a gentle way that was years in the making. Now I could lean on my children in times of need. They have all grown up into beautiful, caring adults that are able to hold me and patch my broken heart.
As they all get married, move away, and have children of their own, I selfishly still want to be the one who comforts them and wipes away their tears. But, now I know I can lean on their strong shoulders too. Worth it all.
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