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My Heart and Soul Ache For You

Updated on April 10, 2010

I see it behind her ever present smile, deep beneath her positive attitude, I see it in her eyes. They say the eyes are the window to the soul, and her beautiful soul is aching. At moments when we reach out to each other, our eyes gaze into each other's and in that instant I see the pain. Pain for me and the devastating pain of losing another child.

The most devastating loss of all.

Is there no greater love than that of a Mother's love for her child? The life that begins within us, we nurture and carry within our womb, we touch our aching belly and marvel at their movements. We talk to them, sing to them and hope and dream for them, even before laying eyes on them.

We give birth to them and cry in joy at the miracle we created. The moment they are laid in our arms, we know without question what undying love is, in that instant we understand the Mother and Child bond.

We nurture, they grow. We rejoice in their milestones. We agonize over whether or not we are doing a good job. We hope they live a long, healthy, happy, prosperous life.

Our worst fear is that we will outlive them.

My mother-in-law had five children, three boys and two girls. The very opposite of ours. Her fourth child, and third boy contracted spinal meningitis at the age of six months. Within one weekend her precious son, the one who most resembled her, would begin a downward spiral lasting eight years. Eight years of heartache for a mother who would wonder what could have been for him. In the 1970's, you grieved behind closed doors, you accepted, you prayed and you went on with your life.

She saw the rest grow to adulthood, marry and bring her a dozen grandchildren. One of her daughters, the older of the two, and a mother herself, became ill with cancer. We were told it was terminal and the doctors gave her a year. With her strength and will to live, the love and support of friends and family, she survived eighteen months, long enough to celebrate her own daughter's fifth birthday. In the early morning hours of a sunny October day, my mother-in-law learned that her third child, her oldest daughter, had slipped away. She went to grief counseling, prayed and read many books on coping with the loss of a child. It helped, she says.

In December of 2009, she again experienced the loss of a child, my husband. Though a grown man with a family of his own, still, and forever would be, her child. One she carried, gave birth to, nurtured, marveled at his milestones (and there were many), one she loved unconditionally and unequivocally.

She often says, she still can't believe he is gone. Her eyes fill with tears and I see her try to dispell the immense grief she must be feeling. She shares her experience of grief counseling with me, and what helped her through the pain of losing her children. Understanding the stages of grief, she says, was of the utmost importance. Knowing that the see-saw and abundance of mixed emotions were normal and all part of the process, helped her tremendously. She encourages me to go. Selflessly, she embraces me and asks me how I'm doing. I reply that I'm doing okay and ask how she is doing. She replies much the same. Though I know in my heart, she's less than okay. Maybe she sees that in me as well. Though we've both lost this man forever from our lives, it is a much different loss.

I look at my own children and simply can not fathom the tremendous devastation of losing one of them, let alone three. I have such admiration for her and her continued love of life in spite of it all. I wish there was some way that I could take away her pain, yet I never want to feel it for myself.

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    • Chaotic Chica profile image

      Chaotic Chica 7 years ago

      There are no words adequate enough to describe how awful her loss, and yours, must be. You wrote from your heart here and it shows. I do hope that you find some measure of peace and do not ever need to find out how she feels from a first had point of view.

    • angela_michelle profile image

      Angela Michelle Schultz 7 years ago from United States

      This is so incredibly beautiful, and touches my heart greatly. I am sorry for both of your losses. I could never imagine losing a child let alone three. My grandmother has now lost three in her lifetime, and it amazes me the grace and perseverance.

      That being said, I could not imagine losing my husband. He is so much of my strength. To lose him and not fall apart I would proving myself strong, as you seem to be showing yourself. To be able to look outside yourself to see his mother's pain, that's truly remarkable. You seem to be a beautiful person!

    • profile image

      "Quill" 7 years ago

      Touching, well written and indeed a fine hub...loss is hard at the best of times...

      Blessings

    • msorensson profile image

      msorensson 7 years ago

      I read this article earlier, Missi.

      I did not know how to react to it except to extend a touch, albeit through the cyberspace, to you and your mother in law.

      Know that you are loved.

    • Missi Darnell profile image
      Author

      Missi Darnell 7 years ago from Southern California

      Chaotic Chica thank you for your comment and kind words. Those are my hopes as well. Thank you.

    • Missi Darnell profile image
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      Missi Darnell 7 years ago from Southern California

      Angela thank you for commenting and your kind words. Indeed the loss has been great, you get up everyday and the sun still comes up and the ones left behind still must move on. My children give me the strength and courage to move forward. To lose one of them, I don't know, if I could survive it. I could only hope to have one iota of strength my mother-in-law has.

    • Missi Darnell profile image
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      Missi Darnell 7 years ago from Southern California

      Thank you Quill for reading and commenting.

    • Missi Darnell profile image
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      Missi Darnell 7 years ago from Southern California

      msorensson thank you, I'm always touched by your kind words. Support has been wonderful and does truly help, even through cyberspace.

    • Cheeky Girl profile image

      Cassandra Mantis 7 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

      This is a warm and loving tribute to the memory of the person in your life that you obviously miss so much! Thank you for sharing this tender hub with us. We should be honoured.

    • JannyC profile image

      JannyC 7 years ago

      This made me teary eyed and reminded me of my grandmother on my Fathers side went much of the same with her children. She cried to me that this should not happen a parent should not outlive their children. I never even got to know these aunts and uncles that I lost was very hard to deal with for they were my family.

    • Liz Kirsten profile image

      Liz Kirsten 7 years ago

      We've all experienced a loss of some kind, but a mother losing her child (let alone three of them) is a tragedy. Very sorry for the loss on both sides-yours and hers. Thank you for sharing your own experience with us.

    • Nady profile image

      Nady 7 years ago from Toronto

      A woman is stronger when she become a mother. Your words are touching. I admire your feelings for your mother-in-low. May God keep us all mothers strong.

    • Ann Nonymous profile image

      Ann Nonymous 7 years ago from Virginia

      What a sad yet touching testimony...I too can never ever imagine the pain and horror of that! You are an amazing women too, to feel such strong love for you mother in law! God bless you, Missi for your compassion and desire to bear anothers suffering!

    • Missi Darnell profile image
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      Missi Darnell 7 years ago from Southern California

      Thank you cheekygirl I hope I've paid tribute to her, I hope my admiration for her shows through.

    • Missi Darnell profile image
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      Missi Darnell 7 years ago from Southern California

      JannyC I agree with your grandmother, it shoudnt happen. Thank you for commenting.

    • Missi Darnell profile image
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      Missi Darnell 7 years ago from Southern California

      Liz thank you for commenting, yes it is unimagineable. Thank you for your kind words.

    • Missi Darnell profile image
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      Missi Darnell 7 years ago from Southern California

      Nady absolutely agree. Something in us changes when we have children, gives us enormous strength. Thank you for commenting.

    • Missi Darnell profile image
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      Missi Darnell 7 years ago from Southern California

      Ann thank you, your words are as always, inspiring. I have tremendous admiration for her, always have and as she grows stronger so does my awe.

    • MFB III profile image

      MFB III 7 years ago from United States

      The umbilical cord can be cut, but never truly severed, it is a lifeline long after we are gone from this earth. When we reach the shores of heaven we will simply push our belly buttons and our moms will reappear to fluff our hair, straighten our collar, and give us a heavenly kiss and a hug. Loved this.~~~MFB III

    • Missi Darnell profile image
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      Missi Darnell 7 years ago from Southern California

      MFB III always beautiful words, I thank you. I hope they are waiting for her and that she will be able to embrace them again one day, twenty years from now though.

    • profile image

      shanshane2 7 years ago

      I am so sorry for your loss! I fear that I would not be nearly as strong as you are!

    • Missi Darnell profile image
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      Missi Darnell 7 years ago from Southern California

      shaneshane2 thank you for visiting and your kind words.

    • DjBryle profile image

      DjBryle 7 years ago from Somewhere in the LINES of your MIND, and HOPEFULLY at the RIPPLES of your HEART. =)

      You're such a courageous woman Missi... and your mom in law too, I admire you both. I could not see my self losing my child too.. This hub is so touching.

    • Missi Darnell profile image
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      Missi Darnell 7 years ago from Southern California

      Dj thank you, I'm not sure if I am as courageous as she is. Yes she's my mil, but has always been more mother to me, I love her dearly. Thank you for commenting.

    • rose56 profile image

      rose56 6 years ago

      It touching my heart. Good hub

    • Missi Darnell profile image
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      Missi Darnell 6 years ago from Southern California

      rose56 thank you for reading and commenting.

    • kaltopsyd profile image

      kaltopsyd 6 years ago from Trinidad originally, but now in the USA

      Wow, what a touching account. Did you mother-in-law outlive all her children?

      Thank you for sharing with us. I'm sorry for your loss.

      Best regards,

      -K. Alto

    • Missi Darnell profile image
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      Missi Darnell 6 years ago from Southern California

      kaltopsyd thank you. Her oldest and her youngest are her lifes blood now and of course all of her 13 grandchildren.

    • kaltopsyd profile image

      kaltopsyd 6 years ago from Trinidad originally, but now in the USA

      Oh okay. Wow, 13 grandchildren! That's lovely!

    • Dardia profile image

      Darlene Yager 5 years ago from Michigan

      Wow! That is a lot of losses. She must be an amazing woman. I'm certain you feel blessed to have such a caring woman as your mother in-law. Very sad but moving hub and possibly cleansing for you. + God bless you and keep you safe!

    • Didge profile image

      Didge 4 years ago from Southern England

      Several very cool ideas Missi Darnell!

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