Sunday, May 8, 2016

A Mother's Legacy

Willow Tree

Around Mother's Day, we give a lot of well deserved thought and attention to the mother figures in our lives -- grandmother's, mothers, aunts...  We think about the example they set for us. Mothers are our first teachers. Our first models of nurturing, unconditional love, compassion and selfless care.

When our decision to carry Joan to term despite her life-limiting diagnosis comes up in conversation, I often receive reactions of amazement or curiosity. And comments such as, not many people do (or would do) that.

I am reminded of a movie quote that has always stuck with me. It is from the film The Way, and in one scene the adventurous son says to his workaholic father, "You don't choose a life, Dad. You live one."

You don't choose a life. You live one.

Whether we realize it or not, the way we live our lives sets an example, impacts others, and leaves a legacy. How we respond to challenges and adversity speaks volumes. Each of our lives sends ripples out into the world.

I did not want the example I set to be that since my daughter was destined to have a brief life, we just gave up and ended it early.

I did not want the message of my life to be that because my daughter was 'imperfect', that her life had less value.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Mother's Day especially makes me think of all those that have lost children, or mothers, or grandmother's. Or any loved one, really.

We are not all that different.

I remember all those who lovingly cared for their terminally ill family members, whether it was an elderly parent, a grandparent, or a child. Those who stayed by their side until their passing, selflessly tending to their needs, and above all surrounding them in love.

Because that's what you do when you love someone so deeply. You never leave their side, if you can at all help it. Especially when they need you most.

That's what we did with Joan. It's that simple.

We are not all that different.

Holding all of the brokenhearted close. Especially mothers missing their children. And children missing their mothers.

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