“And let me tell you two things I’ve learned. The first is that it doesn’t matter how old that child is, or when or how he became yours. Once you decide to think of someone as your child, something changes, and everything you have previously enjoyed about them, everything you have previously felt for them, is preceded first by that fear. It’s not biological; it’s something extra-biological, less determination to ensure the survival of one’s genetic code, and more a desire to prove oneself inviolable to the universe’s feints and challenges, to triumph over the things that you want to destroy what’s yours.
The second thing is: when your child dies, you feel everything you’d expect to feel, feelings so well-documented by so many others that I won’t bother to list them here, except to say that everything that’s written about mourning is all the same, and it’s all the same for a reason- because there is no real deviation from the text. Sometimes you feel more of one thing and less of another, and sometimes you feel them out of order, and sometimes you feel them for a longer time or a shorter time. But the sensations are always the same.
But here’s what no one says- when it’s your child, a part of you, a very tiny but nonetheless unignorable part of you, also feels relief. Because finally, the moment you have been expecting, been dreading, been preparing yourself for since the day you became a parent, has come.
Ah, you tell yourself. It’s arrived. Here it is.
And after that, you have nothing to fear again.” - A Little Life, Hanya Yanagihara.
This quote couldn’t come at a more perfect time. This Mother’s Day, I feel fearless. The worst thing happened, and I’m okay. Some days are unpredictable but instead of fighting the pain I feel, fearing what it may do to my day, to my heart, to my mascara, I’m okay with it. After months, I feel I’ve yet to have better than worse days but until that time comes, I don’t want to be afraid. I’m not inviting the anguish, but I’m familiar enough with it to not rival with it. Just like the author writes above, there are no words that will match it. If you have empty arms or an empty womb this year, I hope you have a fearless Mother’s Day.