Friday, June 19, 2009

That Mom

Today marks one month that Maura died.

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.


Anonymous said...

May God keep blessing you Erin. Thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Erin, you don't know me, and I didn't know Maura personally, but I had several friends who knew Maura and I have followed your and her story. There are no words that are adequate to express enough condolences or encouragement or support. Just know that your faith and strength are an encouragement and blessing to me and i'm sure to many. While your days are filled with healthy things to do, make sure you take days to wallow and cry, those are equally important. May God continue to bless you with the strength and comfort you need.

Anonymous said...

Erin-My heart cries out for you but I know you to be a woman of great faith so my prayer will be that our precious LORD will pick you up and carry you in his arms- I have felt him to that for me at a time when I needed to be carried and held close so I pray this for you. May HE bring you comfort!!
Love you

Elsa D. said...

thank you Erin. Beijos.

SLY said...

Erin, I love all the people who find Maura's story and yours and who get to learn about her and your family and are encouraged. It's so wonderful. Thank you for continuing to write. Cheesecake is pending. Lydia and I discussed making a very special new brand of cheesecake inspired by Maura. I'll let you know when to expect it.

Jim Coffey said...

FANTASTIC STORY !! Thanks for sharing. I guess it's my turn to ask for prayers.

My dear friend from college contracted swine flu, lungs failed, kidneys not so hot, on a respirator, not conscious - he's been this way for 1 week now. Sitting in ICU, listening to the monitor beep - not sure what God has planned. Wife and four kids sitting by his side.

I fervently hope and pray that I won't have a reason to share the wonderful story. But, if God had said that they could have the most wonderful dad for 24 years - I think they would have said ok.

Erin said...

Russert's son, Luke, told the same story at his father's memorial service and said the same thing...that he had had his dad for twenty-two years, and would have made the same deal in a heartbeat.
Saying prayers for your friend and his family

dhbryan said...

How wise God is, not to let us see the whole picture from the beginning. How much it hurts when we feel blindsided ... but He has always told us to number our days, to count our loved ones as precious. How blessed you were that you had that year with Maura so that your whole family could express their love to one another. I've learned to tell my friends and family just that, because our fraction-of-what-you're-feeling grief has reminded us of the importance of not waiting. Blessings counted daily, Diana

Lydia DeSouza said...

Mom. I love you. I love hugging you. I love singing with you. I love how you used to rock me at night when I had bad dreams. I love going to stores with you and trying on bathing suits. I love waking up in the morning and coming downstairs and just talking to you all day and not doing anything but just talking to you. I love that I look like you. I love that I talk like you. I hope i don't have your hip or ankle but i love that I know I have your smile.
Mom, I love you. Happy father's day. =) Daddy is gonna love our Brazilian breakfast we planned!


ps and you will always be the mother of 3. Always.

Elsa D. said...

Lydia, tell me what goes on a Brazilian breakfast. ;-) I think I am hungry....
and I agree I think your mom is great.