She Mothers Us, the Aching Mothers

Dear A.J. and Joy Sommers,

This month you were born. In the years you have been gone, the impact you created has made deep and lasting ripples. Losing you changed the course of your mother’s life forever. There is no early spring party with balloons and bubbles and cake. At least not Earthside that passersby can see. Losing you broke open your mother’s heart that would only heal when she learned to fill in the cracks and crevices with love for others: your daddy, your brother, for herself. And for mamas like me whose heartbreak was painfully familiar. Losing you caused your mama to live in honor of you. She keeps you real by sharing her grief, by calling you by name, by walking in shoes she doesn’t want to be wearing. Grief strips the veneer and leaves a person more authentic. Your mama did not choose this path but embraces it nonetheless.

Your mama was there for us when our family lost our Little Brother, Reece. She scooped up my mother’s heart from the side of the rollercoaster, holding the pieces together like a shattered egg, and rubbed a gentle layer of love into it.   The love she would have lavished on you was shared with us. She mothered us. Her heart healed a bit more, too.

Joy, you are the reason for your mama’s good work. The  hugs she would have given to you were spent on us, the aching mothers. Every time you would have fallen on the sidewalk and needed comfort, she saved it and offered comfort to us. Midnight wakings to be at a bedside, not yours, A.J., but ours. It was saved for us. Tangled thoughts, and worries, and going above and beyond, it was saved for us. Time, money, energy: it was saved for us,
the aching mothers. Your legacy lives on in all our hearts, your mother’s touch is there, her fingerprints left where she held the pieces together.

The work she does is so important to the world. Bad things happen to good people for no reason. Grief is deep and dark and long. Losing a child is such an unnatural tragedy, no parent should experience it. But we do. Death is part of life. No one should walk this journey alone and your mama makes sure no parent does. She mothers us, the aching mothers.

Happy Birthday, sweet babies. Thank you for sharing your mama with us.

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