As always, The Universe came together in a most interesting way this weekend. I received a phone call from a very good friend Saturday morning who wanted to share about someone close to them that had lost a loved one to suicide. He had recommended reaching out to me and Hope Lives Here because, well, we know a little something about these things. As our conversation broadened to my hopes and dreams around our non-profit, he gave me some solid business advice which I thanked him for. He seemed surprised at my gratitude, but I told him I will take words of wisdom wherever I can find them. “After all,” I commented, “I’m just a momma here, trying her best.”
Coincidentally, (or not, as we believe at HLH, lol) a fellow grieving momma posted an article from Still Standing Online Magazine today (https://stillstandingmag.com/2018/12/17/on-doing-enough/?fbclid=IwAR3WqgmVLa1q9q9sAeO6yaXYayxr2oBcqamvs_wN5WMnJDzFLpGvo8AMDuM). It is an excellent resource for child loss and this article was focused on the question – Am I Doing Enough? Am I doing enough to honor the memory of my sweet son or daughter? Does it have to be a grand gesture like starting a non-profit or is it enough to remember your child in your own space in your own way? My fellow momma posted the most poignant words and with her blessing I share them here.
“Am I a terrible mother because I haven’t yet raised millions of dollars, because I have a hard time convincing and motivating myself to go to the cemetery regularly, because I haven’t started some type of non profit or hand made baskets and gifts for other loss mamas to help them in those first few moments and hours of the new level of hell they’ve just entered? Is crying a million tears enough? Is living and breathing everyday while my daughter does not enough? Is carrying my girl’s ashes around my neck daily enough? Is sharing my raw and ridiculous emotions and fears and broken family on Facebook and laying bare my heart to people enough? I don’t know the answers but I can only hope S. thinks her mama is enough. But unlike regular parents who question themselves daily, I don’t get to come home to that toddler who runs to you and smiles and hugs you and says I love you mama where you get that moment of right this second my love is enough. No one can ever answer these questions for me, so I have to be strong enough to say to myself that my love is enough, even if it never reaches a million people. I just wish I could know for sure that it reaches her.”
I am inspired and love this momma so much. And this is the reality for a parent who is missing a child. Being a parent is about doing what you can to raise and love and protect the human beings in your care. It is a daily practice that requires time and energy and love. So what do you do when you have that same time and energy and love to pour into a child that no longer walks on this Earth? There’s that well known quote that says ‘Grief is Love with Nowhere to Go’. They are not wrong.
So, after a few years of missing Luke it looks like I have chosen the grand gesture. But it’s not that grand, really. When I started Hope Lives Here, it was with the support of my very best friends, and I said I only ever wanted to help one person and if we could do that, well, then we had been successful. It is almost two years later and volunteer faces have changed, and clients have come and gone, and I have stumbled, gosh darn it. Running a non-profit is not easy, friends. Add to that my amazing full-time job as an educator and supporting my family and well, saying I am busy is an understatement. But we are doing it! Still, I ask myself on the daily if what I am doing is enough. If my efforts are enough. If I am enough.
Turns out, as I reflected this morning, it doesn’t matter if I am enough. Because through all of this, through this crazy journey of Grief and Hope Lives Here, it has never been just me. I have been lucky enough to be surrounded by the most incredible people and it has only been through ALL of our efforts that my healing continues and HLH continues to grow. So, if you have ever hugged me, or sent me a card, or donated an hour of time, or donated a dollar, you have my thanks. It started because of this face –
But it’s only because I have ALL of you that I get through. I NEED all of you. Afterall, I’m just a momma here. Doing her best to honor her boy. I hope he thinks it’s enough. Xxx