Just look at those two in the photograph above these words. My twin sons. The reason I’m still here. My babies. When they were placed in my arms just after birth, I looked into their new faces and thought “well, there you are!”. I felt as if I’d known them my entire life and had just been waiting for their arrival.

Raising boys was so different than raising my daughter. I’m not sure if that’s because of their gender or the fact there were two! Either way, they kept me busy.

There’s a special love between mother and son. Not any less than what you have for a daughter, just different. My happiest memories are those in which the four of us are together. Those were perfect days.

I’ve written about how much I feel I’ve failed at being their mother after Becca was killed. They won’t admit it. Maybe because they don’t want to cause me pain and guilt. Or possibly they truly don’t believe I did. I am not sure I deserve either kindness. But I have it. And I am grateful.

A few days after she died, the boys came back home. They’d been taken to their father’s to protect them from as much as possible. I remember feeling ambivalent when they came in and hugged me.

I thought “I can’t love them anymore. I love them too much and if something happens to them, also, I won’t survive”. What mother does that, right? A normal mother would have grabbed her children and held on for dear life.  Not me. I wanted them far away because to love them was just asking for more pain.

I’m ashamed of this fact. I’ll never be completely rid of the shame I carry for these thoughts. Even now, writing this, I wonder who’ll judge me harshly. That, I do deserve.

In a pharmaceutical induced haze, I latched onto the idea that my children die. To keep the boys alive, and safe, I couldn’t love them. What I love, my mind told me, wouldn’t survive. The insistent voice in my head, the one put there by an abusive uncle, told me I wasn’t worthy of happiness. I listened.

I kept my beautiful sons at arms length. It seemed, to me, that letting them go would be easier this way. And they’d have a life.

I’m sharing this part of my journey because it’s true. It’s ugly. Shameful. Disgusting. But true. We, bereaved mothers, have to be able to share what’s in the darkest corners of our minds. You can’t heal what you don’t acknowledge.

My sons are now twenty three. The age Becca  was when she was killed. I have to “talk myself down” some days because I’m pretty sure the world is going to take them, too.

I’m not sure when my mind started to realize that I could love them. That I do love them. But I’m so very thankful it did.

Gabriel and Matthew are incredible young men. They haven’t had an easy life, yet they don’t allow that fact to harden them. Through their understanding, and never faltering love, I’ve learned that I am worthy. Happiness can be part of my life again. The voice has little power these days.

The day she was born, Becca saved me. My boys have saved me numerous times, times I couldn’t save myself. They are my absolute best that I’ve added to this world.

Learning to love completely, with abandon, can happen again. Don’t hold yourself back because you think it’s safe. That this will protect you, and your heart, somehow.

Let the love of those around you begin to stitch your wounds closed.

We are made to love.

 

 

 

I'm a mother, artist, and writer. A decade ago I lost my daughter. I find writing, and painting, heal me. Sharing my story of loss and healing lightens what I carry. And, hopefully, my words help another along the way.

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