Kathy sent me a beautiful post, written about a year ago by another grieving mother.
In some ways it explains what I feel, but better. I identify with being "that Mom." I am the mom that no one wants to be, that gives every other mom pause, that reminds them of what they know but occasionally forget to cherish.
In other important ways, her story is different.
I do not feel the bitterness that she feels. I am not bitter at all--something I attribute to a faith in God deeper than I knew I possessed.
I also think that having a year to absorb the reality of Maura's situation made death less shocking than it was for the mom in this post and others whose children are taken suddenly and/or violently.
And I had 22, almost 23 years. She had but two.
Michael Gartner, former head of NBC news, retells the story of a phone call from Tim Russert, shortly after Gartner's 17-year-old son died.
Christopher was one of my sons, and he idolized Tim. Christopher died in 1994, at age 17, from an initial attack of juvenile diabetes. I had left NBC by then, but within hours of Christopher's death the phone rang at home in Des Moines. It was Russert.
I was in tears, and he seemed to be, too. He expressed his deep sorrow, and then he said:"Look, if God had come to you 17 years ago and said, 'I'll make you a bargain. I'll give you a beautiful, wonderful, happy and healthy kid for 17 years, and then I'll take him away, you would have made that deal in a second."
He was right, of course, that was the deal. I just didn't know it.
I've loved that story of Tim Russert for years, never thinking I would apply it to my own experience. But that's how I feel. I am thankful for the 22 years, wishing I had more. I just didn't know that was the deal.