Rigorous
Volume One, Issue 4



Theresa Ford


The Gift of Hope

When I think of all the gifts I have received in my life, I came to realize that even though I have great memories attached to every one of them, only one stands out as significant. Most of the gifts I received were associated with a birthday, holiday, or anniversary. Of course, I have a place in my heart for every one of these tokens of love, but when I tried to find the one that meant the most to me, I thought of just one. One present was completely spontaneous and was given to me in a burst of love and for no reason found on a calendar. As a result, I can honestly say it was the emotional improvement or catalyst to carry me forward as my life was yet to unfold.

It was 1997, and things were very tough for me emotionally. My son was very ill and I was physically drained and spiritually exhausted. I felt I had nowhere to turn and not even a glimmer of light was glowing at the end of the tunnel. Just when I thought I could not shed another tear, another flood of water would start rolling down my face. I knew in my heart that my son was dying, and I could do nothing about it. Not one person could console me, cheer me up, nor could they get me to talk about how I felt.

I would behave as if a light bulb's glow had begun to dim, as if I was in a dense fog and I could not see anything around me. This all occurred while my son lay in his hospital bed, just connected to what seemed to me thousands of little IV lines. I would react as if nothing could possibly be wrong. Yes, I was in denial; he just had a bad cold and would be coming home soon. Right after a week, the doctors started telling me that his time was growing short and they felt they could do nothing more. Then the pastor started coming around. He asked me every day if I would like to start making final arrangements. Talk about pissing someone off! Yeah, I guess I would get that look on my face because Branden, would all of a sudden shout, MOM BE NICE!, I would just smile again and think he knows me so well.

Now keep in mind that all this time Mr. B. would just watch me quietly and smile as I handled each situation. I never heard him complain or cry for he had a peaceful nature. One night as he was sleeping it came to me as if in a dream that a child whom I loved so much, carried his illness with dignity. I realized how deeply I was affected, and his concern was more for my well-being than his own. As this realization started to hit home, I began to pay more attention to his body movements and mannerisms, even his inflections as he spoke. I started to feel ashamed for having felt denial and having that "Why, poor me" syndrome. You see I now know that he was preparing me for life without him.

Because of his strength, I began to rejoin the world with him; I followed his lead to enjoy life and appreciate every moment of time that we had a chance to be blessed with. We shared so much; talks, laughter and sadness. Because he lived, I began to live. He smiled, I began to feel joy. Because he loved to talk and be around others. I began to interact and rejoin the human race. After two weeks of this great gift of hope, Branden passed away. His love for me and observance of my grief prior to his passing, without me even knowing what he was doing sent me back on my path to life.

Now some might say, "What does that have to do with emotional improvement?" All I know is I was blessed to learn about a little thing called love with no strings attached. Or how about the lesson that wisdom is not only for adults. More importantly. My God has a plan for all of us and he is not required to tell us ahead of time what it is. We just have to be open to the wake up calls.

Four months ago I lost my husband and another son but it's okay. For I am improved and getting better by the minute. Back then, I could talk the talk with the best of them about having faith in God. Branden showed me how to walk in faith for God. Understanding will come later. Maybe not when I want it, but when I need it most.




MOMMA (please listen)

I have to tell you this.

You didn't fail. Not even a little.

YOU ARE NOT A HORRIBLE MOTHER!

You didn't choose this. You didn't want this to happen. You didn't do anything wrong. It just happened. To you. Even though everything within you was screaming no, no, no, no.

God didn't do this to punish you, smite you, or to teach you a lesson. That is not God's way. You could not have prevented this if you tried harder, prayed harder, or were a "better" person. Nor if you are better, loved harder, yoga-ed more, did x,y, or z to the nth degree-fill in the blank with any other lie your mind devises.

No, there is nothing more you could have done. And you are the best mother there is because you would have done absolutely anything to keep your child alive. To breathe your last breath instead. That is the ultimate kind of love.

You are the ultimate kind of mother!!

So wash your hands of any naysayers, betrayers, or those who sprinted in the other direction when you needed them most. Anyone whose words or looks have implied this was somehow your fault. This will never be your fault, no matter how many different ways someone tries to tell you it was.

Especially if that someone happens to be you!!!

Sometimes it's your own inner voice that shoves you into the darkest corner of despair, like an abuser, telling you over and over and over again you failed as a mother. Convincing you if only this and what if that. Saying you coulda, shoulda done this or that so your child would not have died.

DO NOT BELIEVE IT, NOT EVEN FOR A SECOND!!!!

YOU ARE THE BEST DAMN MOTHER IN THE ENTIRE WORLD!!!!!

No one else could do what you do. No one else could carry this unrelenting burden as courageously.

There is no one, no one, no one who could ever, ever replace you. No one. You were chosen to be my mother. Yes--chosen. You have a sacred strength.

You are the mother of all mothers!!!!!!

So breathe, mama. Believe, mama. Fight mama, you did not fail not even a little.

For what it's worth, I see you.It takes invincible strength to mother a child that you can no longer, hold, see, touch, or hear.

You are a superhero mama!!!!!!!

The truth is, you haven't failed at all. In fact, just the opposite. You are truly, the most inspiring, courageous, loving mother there is-a warrior mama through and through.

YOU ARE THE MOTHER OF ALL MOTHERS, FOR EVEN IN DEATH, YOU LOVINGLY MOTHER YOUR PRECIOUS CHILD STILL!!!!!!!!


Theresa Ford: "My style of writings are with the intent of having the reader either feel some form of emotion, or consider it as food for thought if this is the end result, I truly then feel as if my work intent was accomplished. I work closely with pre-teens up to young adults. When the reader is contemplating my works my goal is for them to also feel as if I was just sitting in the same room with them and we are just have a conversation about life."




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