There was a funeral on Saturday. It was attended by dignitaries, police officers from across the country, a motorcade of cars miles long. In one of the black limousines sat two young children with their father. Their mother was in the hearse in front of them. She had been shot and killed in the line of duty trying to stop a madman from killing other police officers. As with all tragic deaths, hers was senseless and inexplicable. She was one of the golden ones who changed the lives of those who knew and loved her. It was a sad day and the community grieved for the family so brutally torn apart.
Sunday was Mother’s Day. I couldn’t get the thought of those young children off my mind as I sat with my family and celebrated my years of motherhood. Those children will, forever, have to take flowers to their mother’s grave to honor her on Mother’s Day. No early morning breakfast in bed, sticky kisses, home-made cards, or presents hand-made with too much glue and glitter will be handed to their Mom. There will be no flowers from the garden, whispered secrets, or silly jokes to share with her. From now on, Mommy will become more and more of a memory and less real by the day. The grief will follow them for a long time, and then be pushed into the back of their minds as the move on into adulthood and life.
But, deep inside, that little girl will long for her mommy to help her grow into a woman and that little boy will long for her to help him understand how to be a good man. And every year, when it is Mother’s Day, they will remember the long line of cars, the speeches, the music, and the sadness on the day they lay their Mom to rest. In the blink of an eye, life changed for them, though they don’t yet know life will never be the same. They will have their Daddy, true, and he will love them with all his heart. But a Mother’s love, a Mother’s care is irreplaceable in a child’s heart and mind. They knew her very heart beat from the day of conception, and now it beats no longer. The rhythm of life is shattered beyond repair, and they will have to find a new rhythm with a heart that skips a beat where their Mother’s used to be.
I pray that she can be an eternal influence on her children. I will remember, even when I am very old, the quiet respect shown by all the bystanders as the funeral cortège slowly rolled by, and I will always remember the long black limousine where two young children sat as they followed their mother to her final resting place the day before Mother’s Day in 2006.