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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Community of Mamas

Our community suffered a terrible tragedy last week. Anna Harvey, a single mother, was killed by a car while riding her bike home on her birthday. She has two daughters, a 4th grader and a 1st grader. Aidan was in the same class as Anna's daughter last year. Anna and I have crossed paths many times over the past few years- at the park with our kids, at birthday parties, at school events...I didn't know her well, but I knew enough to be deeply affected by this loss.

The thing that is the hardest for me to comprehend is how these two little girls no longer have their Mama to share their days with. This hits close to home. We see tragedies on the news about Sandy Hook, or women being kidnapped and held hostage for a decade, or devastating tsunamis and earthquakes. And each time a tragedy happens, I'm deeply affected. I've always been this way, even as a kid, where the pain that others are experiencing a world away is palpable. But when a tragedy happens in my own community, of course it's even harder to deal with. 

I've been trying to think of ways I can help Anna's little girls. Nothing will bring their Mama back to them, but I wish I could just hug them and never let go. I want them to know they are loved by this community. They are being held up by all the Mamas in this community (and the Daddies too). This Community of Mamas will always be watching out for these girls. The girls will not know all of us, but we know them, and we will be watching out for them, in case there is even a chance we can ever make their lives just a little more peaceful or comfortable.

Because the bottom line is, this can happen to any of us. We could be doing the most usual, unsurprising thing, and the next second just be gone. You never know when your time will come. And if my time came too early, I would want this Community of Mamas watching out for my kids. I would want them to be sending love and prayers through ESP to my children. My community is small and constant. Everyone knows everyone, and wherever I go I run into friends. I love it here. I love that all the Mamas know my kids, and would help them if they ever needed it.

My sweet friend, who has a heart bigger than our solar system, has thought of a way to make a difference for Anna's girls on Mother's Day, and to let them know that there are so many people supporting them. My friend is organizing a gift to bring to Anna's home the morning of Mother's Day, which she will leave on the porch anonymously. She has contacted all the mothers she knows who would be involved in Anna's kids' lives, asking if anyone wants to donate anything for the gift. You should have seen the Facebook messages flying the past few days. Every Mama wants to help. Every Mama wants Anna's girls to know they are not alone, even though their Mama is their Angel now. My friend's home is likely to be filled to the brim with donations from this Community of Mamas.

I went to Hallmark this morning, on a mission to find something that would be just right to donate for this Mother's Day gift. The two dear Hallmark Helpers who were working today had no idea what an emotional mess was walking through their door at 10:17 a.m. The darn ladies kept harassing me with kindness, in true Hallmark fashion- asking me if they could help me find anything, asking what I was looking for in particular...

As I was looking around, I began to think what a terrible, horrible mission I was on. I was looking for a gift for two little girls whose Mama has died, so that they would know they are not alone on Mother's Day. How do you explain that one flippantly to a Hallmark Helper? I started feeling more and more emotional. 

Finally, I told one of the Hallmark Helpers that I could not tell her what I was looking for because if I did, I would cry. But then I started crying just telling her that. So through my sobs (Literally. Sobbing in the middle of Hallmark. In my family they are known as Daddy Sobs- because my dad and I sob the same way: the sob grabs us and comes all the way from our toes out to gulping, gasping fits of tears. A teeny bit embarrassing, but I had no control over it at that point.), I told her about my terrible mission. I didn't even know Anna that well, but this has affected me so deeply because I think of my children, and her children, and I cannot imagine their pain right now, and I do not ever wish any child to have to feel that kind of pain. 

The Hallmark Helpers were great. They gave me hugs to stop my sobbing (but couldn't stop the tears from leaking down my cheeks, no matter how sweet the ladies were), and showed me some different options for my gift. I think Hallmark must do some therapeutic training for all their employees, in case someone comes into the store in a fragile emotional state and breaks down. Because these ladies handled my Crazy with gentleness and finesse. They deserve a raise. 

I left with what I hope will be a little something that can help Anna's girls remember her. Nothing will fill this void for them, but it's just the least I can do as part of this Community of Mamas. Thank you to my amazing friend who thought of it. 

I've been hugging my kids extra long this past week. They're just so small and fragile and wonderful. And life is so unpredictable and difficult sometimes. I want to shield my kids from every heartache. Every Mama wants to do that for her children. And if anything were to happen to me while my children are small, I am thankful that I live in this Community of Mamas, where friends want to help each other, and they care about each other, and want to make a difference for each other. I'm proud to be a member of this Community of Mamas. I'm going to be sending prayers and love to Anna's girls every day. I know they will see their Mama Angel again someday, and until then, they can count on this Community of Mamas to be there for them.

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