Any Mother’s Loss Is Every Mother’s Loss

December 17, 2012 in Parenting

A Star For Benjamin Wheeler

Any mother’s loss is every mother’s loss.”

I read that sentiment in a recent post about the Newtown, CT tragedy by blogger Liz over at Mom-101 and I thought that described my heartache perfectly. All of us — mothers AND fathers — feel the grief and pain about the loss of those precious young lives.  Additionally, we are mourning the six teachers, who were nothing short of heroic, according to circulating accounts of them protecting their students.  And yet, despite the sorrow I feel, I also can’t shake the feeling that I don’t have the right to share my grief. That my grief comes nowhere near the magnitude of the shattered families who lost children. A few of my fellow bloggers have discussed this feeling, labeling it as “guilt” or “survivor’s guilt.” I suppose that’s partially what it is, that because my kids are okay, I can’t truly fathom what these families are experiencing and therefore I feel guilty. But, I still want them all to know that I hurt for them, that I am weeping for them, that I want to help them heal. And that brings me back to our effort to help Ben’s family, who lost their little boy. As I’ve posted previously here, fellow blogger Amy of Adorable Chaos is very close to this tragedy because she knows Ben’s family. My blogging group has banded together to collect donations to purchase a star for Ben, along with the additional funds going towards the funeral expenses. Today, December 17th, is the last day to contribute so please consider donating any amount possible so that we can help this family through an immensely difficult time. Simply click on this box below and you will be taken to the site collecting donations.

On a separate note, tomorrow I will be joining many other bloggers in a Day of Silence to honor the victims of Sandy Hook Elementary. We are simply posting a button and link to donate to the Newtown Youth and Family Services. I will not be posting any blogs tomorrow, but will be using that time to reflect and grieve.

I am unsure when I will resume my regular blog posts, as I don’t feel ready to yet. If you are familiar with my blog, the tone is usually light, fun and a little snarky. That doesn’t feel appropriate to me right now. Maybe after the holidays. but I just don’t know. As with 9/11, I recall that after a period of constant media attention and somber news shows, the comedic TV series resumed and one of the actors in an interview said that he felt glad that he could try to make people laugh again. I hope to be able to do the same, but for tomorrow at least, I am remaining silent. Thank you for understanding.

*And thank you to Cyndi Calhoun of Pictimilitude for the beautiful photo of the star for Ben.

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Melanie Chisnall December 17, 2012 at 9:48 am

This is beautiful Emily. I wish we had more time to get in donations…but at least what we’ve done will make a small difference, even if it’s not this year – over time it will.


ohboymom December 17, 2012 at 1:55 pm

Yes, I agree that what we’re doing will make a difference, both in the short and long term. It still feels like it’s not enough, but I’m sure it feels that way to everyone trying to help in some small way.


Janine Huldie December 17, 2012 at 2:12 pm

Beautiful post and have had the same feeling of ‘survivor’ guilt this past weekend. I am trying to balance those feelings with normal everyday life. Thus the fact that I can’t completely shut out the absurd and the funny with my own kids. On one hand, I feel absolutely terrible for these families and on the other I don’t want to give up and not keep living and enjoying my own family. Seems counter-productive. Hope I don’t sound insincere or mean here, but just not sure what to do right now. So I am just doing what feels natural if that makes any sense. I totally understand your feelings though and see where you are coming from.


ohboymom December 17, 2012 at 6:52 pm

Janine, of course you don’t sound insincere or insensitive…you have the right attitude – absolutely! I think we all need to deal with this in our own way and on our own terms…you should continue to do what feels right. I’m not sure if you follow “Jenny from the Blog” but she posted about this today (she’s a humor blogger) and I loved what she had to say about it and how she was going to start regular posts again tomorrow.


Janine Huldie December 17, 2012 at 7:01 pm

Thanks Emily and seriously going to check out Jenny’s blog. I am so torn about what is the right thing to do, but do agree it is what feels right to us each individually :)


Cyndi December 17, 2012 at 2:34 pm

It seems weird to be all jovial and lighthearted when such a heavy tragedy is upon us. :\ I had other posts scheduled this week and I’m rescheduling some of them because I feel like they’re just too much right now. Wonderful post and tribute. HUGS!


ohboymom December 17, 2012 at 6:48 pm

Thanks Cyndi and hugs back to you! I’m torn about when to try to make people laugh again…I think we all need to do what feels right to us individually.


Amy December 17, 2012 at 2:34 pm

Emily, I discussed this with friends of mine on Saturday morning -how important it is to support moms everywhere who are mourning this loss, letting them know it is okay to feel this way, it is human to hurt for them so deeply. I have a connection to a family in Newtown, but I was feeling like I didn’t have the right to be upset because I have no way of knowing the kind of pain they are suffering right now. I understand what you are feeling, because I am feeling it too. I know that I’m not functioning “normally” and I think I am going to go easy on myself and allow myself to process this in my own time. I hope you will allow yourself the same. <3


ohboymom December 17, 2012 at 6:47 pm

Thanks Amy, it’s very helpful for me to hear that you are feeling similarly to me and because your connection is more direct, that you probably feel it even more so. I agree that we all need to process this in our own way and in our own time. Thanks for your thoughts on this.


Stephanie @ Mommy, for real. December 17, 2012 at 7:46 pm

Thanks for such a thoughtful post, Emily. I am feeling many of the same conflicting emotions that you are- responsibility to grieve along with the other mothers, guilt for feeling grief that isn’t “mine”, and ambivalence on how to proceed with my blog posts this week. Thanks for summing it up so well.


ohboymom December 17, 2012 at 8:47 pm

Thanks Stephanie…I’m glad it was helpful because lately I feel like I can’t string anything coherent together so I’m pleased that it made sense and was something you could relate to.


Stacy Harris December 18, 2012 at 12:01 am

Well done. I too will be observing a day of silence tomorrow on my blog. I can only imagine how quiet it will be tomorrow.


ohboymom December 18, 2012 at 1:01 am

Thanks Stacy and I agree, it will be a quiet day, but hopefully a meaningful one too.


Rich Rumple December 18, 2012 at 12:45 am

Emily, I can completely understanding of your feelings. I, myself, am so angered that I find it hard to understand why society continues along it’s same path. I wrote a hub stating all my views, so I won’t bother to repeat them here. There was no reason for us to see this happen. I should say, see events like these happen over and over. Hang in there and give your children the love and direction they deserve. Treasure the love you see in their eyes, as they return the love you give.


ohboymom December 18, 2012 at 1:03 am

Thanks Rich…I’ll go check out your hub but I definitely understand the anger component too…this should not have happened and same goes for the numerous other school shootings.


Michelle December 19, 2012 at 2:05 pm

Hi Emily, a beautiful post. As you say, it’s hard to relate to the pain of those involved completely. But we do join in the sorrow, for we all understand that their loss is of a magnitude that cannot be expressed. Thanks for sharing, and I do hope that you are able to write more soon.


ohboymom December 20, 2012 at 4:03 am

Thanks Michelle…it does help to share the pain we all feel, but for some reason, my usual blog-style seems stuck for now. I guess I just need more time.


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