BETHESDA, Md. — When the dawn breaks this Mother’s Day, there will be sons, and daughters who will have made plans to treat their Mums to special dinners, maybe breakfast in bed, or just take them someplace special.
Countless flowers, candies, and yes, even jewelry will be bestowed in gratitude by children in a showing of deep love and gratitude for all that their Mums mean in their lives.
Yet, for some mother’s, the day will not hold a special meaning at all. There will be no gifts, no special remembrances or displays of affection and love. There will be an empty place at the dinner table and even larger emptiness in the hearts of those mothers who have lost their children to suicide or bullying.
The roll call is numbing and in many ways it can be publicly marked commencing with the death of Matthew Shepard and rolling forward through the years to the recent death of Jay “Corey” Jones, a 17-year-old openly gay teen in Rochester, Minn., who took his own life just one week ago.
The huge outcry that follows these senseless tragedies does little in actuality to ease the painful grief of those mothers whose children have died prematurely by the violence brought about by bullying and homophobia.
What’s worse is that long after that outcry has died down — save for parents who become leading advocates to reach out publicly to prevent these deaths such as Judy Shepard, Tammy Aaberg, or Tracy Rodemeyer, for example — those mothers who have lost their children ultimately fade away from public consciousness, marking every mother’s day in silence and grief.
Little did I know that Sunday, May 8, 2011 would be my last Mother’s Day with both my children. Half my life was taken away from me on Sept. 18, 2011. This is when my son Jamey committed suicide. I began to reexamine my life: Why am I here? Why do I exist?
Do I deserve to remain on this Earth when my son is no longer with us? My children were my life, the air that I breathed, the reason for my existence. The blood that ran through me was inside both of them. This Mother’s Day I will ask myself a question I ask myself every day: Do I deserve to be recognized on Mother’s Day after all that has happened? This Mother’s Day will be the hardest ever.
At the end of the night this Mother’s Day, I will sit in the backyard, where we found Jamey on that Sunday morning, and I will pray to him to let him know how much we all miss him, and how I wish I could have done more to convince him to stay with us on Earth, and how I wish he could have spent all my remaining Mother’s Days with me.
To all you children: look past what you see as criticism, and understand that you are so loved, more than you can ever imagine, but you may not understand or appreciate it until you are a parent one day. Love yourself, because baby, you were born this way!
This mother’s day, let us honor those mother’s who have suffered the loss of their children to bullying, homophobia, and cruelty visited on them because of invalid perceptions. Let us thank those mothers, and most of all let us never forget them nor their children by contributing to the efforts to end the senseless cycle of violence and rhetoric that indeed proves out that words can kill.
Let us remember these moms this mother’s day and for those young persons who read these words, go give your Mum a huge hug, tell her that you love her, and above all- remember this please, it does and can always get better.
Donate to a youth shelter, a suicide prevention program, or advocacy organization in your local community that assists at risk LGBTQ youth and their families.
If you or someone you care about is having serious problems and is thinking about suicide, please do not hesitate to call The Trevor Lifeline at: 866-4-U-TREVOR (866-488-7386) to speak with a trained volunteer counselor.