To the Mamas, In the Wake of Violence

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be the lightWe woke up this morning to the news of yet another act of horrific violence. Humanity on humanity; pointless, meaningless, hatred-turned-violence. News like this shakes me to the core. And as I sip my coffee, lean against the doorpost, and watch my babies sleep in innocent, peaceful dreams of swimming in the lake and building with toy trains, I can hear the statistics being rattled off by the newscaster in the background: “50 confirmed dead… more injured… possible terrorism… suspect gunned down…”

My heart aches and my lip trembles as I watch my children’s chests rise and fall and I wonder if it was selfish of me to bring them into a world like this. My mama soul screams “Those people who died — they were someones babies!” and “I’m so angry I can hardly stand it.” I want to do something, anything to make it better, but I can’t. So today, I just want to join hands with the other mamas and stand in solidarity. I want you to know I’m thinking about you.

To the mama of the victims, ones gone too soon :: 

Oh, sweet mama. I don’t even have words. I think of you and I can hardly breathe. I want to weep with you. Ache with you. Scream with you. Sit with you. Listen to you. I am SO angry for you. I want you to know there’s absolutely NOTHING about this that is right. Your child did nothing to deserve this. I want to give you answers to your questions and to help you heal. I want to give you your baby back. 

I want you to know your child’s life matters. They are valuable. They make a difference. They are light in the darkness.

To the mama of the “survivors,” ones who are still here ::

Precious mama. What a nightmare you’ve lived. I want you to know I’m thinking of you too. I can’t imagine the complex emotions you must have experienced in the last little bit of time. The terror. The anxiety. The relief. I want to hold you as you recount the moments of waiting to hear from your child. I want to tell you to be patient with yourself as you face these next days and weeks recovering from the trauma, even the guilt that may arise. I want you to know the emotions you’re feeling are very real, even though your loved one is still here, it’s okay to be struggling.

I want you to know your child’s life matters. They are valuable. They make a difference. They are light in the darkness.

And to the mamas who, like me, are tucking in our babies and holding them a little closer, wondering what the future holds ::

I want you to know I’m with you. I want you to know I am struggling to know why I chose to bring a child into a broken world filled with such anger and hate and violence and wrong. I’m scared of what the days to come might look like for my children or their children. With each event like this, I cringe in wondering if there is any hope for this world or our children. I’m so angry. So sad. So confused. I want to run away to my own island and hide my precious gifts in a cave and protect them from the terrors of this world. 

But then I realize, when I was given these treasured gifts, they weren’t just meant as gifts for me. My children are my gift to the world. And just as there is so much darkness, evil, and lies in this world, I have the amazing opportunity to raise little humans as vessels of light, goodness, and truth. And I know that, scared as we are, sweet mama, you want to do the same. This is what we were made to do. We were meant to bring light into the darkness. And the thing about light is that it overcomes the dark. A lighthouse that is seen for miles, a candle flame when the power goes out, a lantern in the night. 

With every tiny bit of light, a bit of darkness is extinguished. 

I think of the candlelight vigils held when things like this happen and I see a picture of what it’s like to do our very best to raise children with hope in a world that grows ever darker. One flame joins with another, and then another and then another. Mama, we are here on this earth to stand together, holding those candles and teaching them to burn bright when the night is darkest.

I want you to know your child’s life matters. They are valuable. They make a difference. They are light in the darkness.

 

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A Milwaukee native, Heather married her best friend 10 years ago, and has lived something of a nomadic lifestyle ever since. Schooling, family, disaster relief work, and a sense of adventure have moved them fourteen times (via 5 states) in 10 years. Regardless of her immediate location, Heather has continually heard Milwaukee calling her "home". Now raising a six year old, four year old, and two year old twins, and a newborn, she and her husband finally decided to plant roots, and are thrilled to be calling the Milwaukee area their (maybe) forever home. When she's not chasing around her growing brood or sweeping up cheerios, Heather can be found experimenting with recipes, failing at the Pinterest life, or finding new outlets for her singing and theatrical passions. Heather is currently working on her Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy and has a special interest in community development and adolescent issues.

4 COMMENTS

  1. I think this is an awesome, thought-provoking, heart-touching piece of writing. But all that is cancelled out because you ignored one Mamma that probably needs kind and loving words more than anyone – the Mamma of the shooter.

  2. Apologies Heather, maybe I shouldn’t have said the “cancelled out” phrase. Perhaps it would have been better to say: However, you forgot to say something as kind and supportive and compassionate to the Mamma who might need it the most – the Mamma if the shooter. Blessings.

    • I would suggest that perhaps the overall message of the piece, about light challenging darkness, would not necessarily bring comfort and encouragement to the mama you mention in this instance. In this case, it might be an entirely different sort of comfort and encouragement needed. Not that her pain isn’t real, not that she isn’t grieving, and not that she isn’t in just as much of a tailspin as the 50 other mothers who lost children. I think it’s just a bit different in terms of the approach needed. I would disagree that the author’s message is completely negated by not addressing one specific person, but would agree that a message of compassion and comfort for her is completely warranted, but with perhaps a slightly different approach.

    • Hi Margo!!
      Thanks for reading, and for clarifying. I’m actually really, really glad you brought that up, because the truth is, I did NOT forget the mama of the shooter – not even for a second. As I processed my feelings and wrote this post, I actually had a paragraph dedicated to her completely. I weep with her. I ache for her. I can’t imagine the magnitude of her pain. I want to befriend her and help her however I can. However, I struggled to know how to include that paragraph in this post without it being distracting to the overall message I was trying to convey. It is not that she was forgotten… far from it. On the contrary, as Sarah alluded to, I feel that she deserves her own letter of compassion and dignity and love. It may or may not be something that I publish publicly, but rest assured, the mama of the shooter was not forgotten, just not included in this particular message. I would love to hear YOUR heart for her, and I LOVE that you remembered her. It allowed me the opportunity to share my heart here, in the comments. Blessings to you as well!!

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