I never thought I would end up a single mother. A solo parent. Solo. With no other parent to come every weekend and whisk the kids off so I can have a social life or just take a nap. When I saw this quote tonight, I burst into tears: “Yup, she’s just a mother. Which is sort of like looking at the sky and saying, ‘Hey, it’s just the sun.'”
Yeah, I’m just a mother. Just a girl who got left standing in her front yard by the man who promised he would never leave. She had to stand in that yard, holding back an ocean of tears, storms beginning to rage, screams drowning out her thoughts.
She had to walk back into that house that was on fire in her imagination because inside sat two little children. Two little children whom she would never leave, never abandon, never let down. All she wanted to do that day was run. Hit the road. Never ever return. But she had to walk back into that house and scoop up the loves of her life. If she was going to run, she was taking them with her. But she never ran, and they keep on going, keep on living, keep on breathing right where they are.
I rack my mind still wondering just how. Just how did he walk past their little shoes, and their piles of toys, and their cereal bowls on the kitchen table? How did he walk away from it all and not look back? It’s a hurt I will feel forever. There is so much more to it than anyone can understand unless they are an adult who also had this happen to their family.
On weekends when my late husband was off work, he would often holler down the basement stairs to me while I was doing laundry and say, “Be back later!” And I knew he was going to his parents to visit, or to the auto parts store, or to a buddy’s house. But he always came home. And he always knew I would take care of the children. I guess this time was no different.
Well, except this time he never came home.
So now I’m not a wife anymore. I’m just me, and I have found that I am enough. Maybe the fairytale was never meant for me. Or maybe it’s out there still waiting in the distance. It doesn’t matter because I am not living for that fairytale anymore. I am living for these little humans I brought into this world. These little people who made me “just a mom.” The greatest thing I have ever been. Possibly the entire reason for why I am here on this Earth, my destiny, is…them. My little lighthouses. And me? I’m just their sun.
So the next time you see a solo parent and wonder where have they been? They have been with their family. Their children. They don’t get Friday night dates with a spouse while the kids go to Grandma’s house. They don’t get to run to the store or for cocktails with their mom friends and leave the kids home with their spouse. Their entire life is wrapped up in their children.
And sometimes at night they cry. They cry because sometimes the worry creeps in, the feelings of abandonment and unworthiness creep in. Sometimes they miss being someone’s everything.
Sometimes I lie in bed and remember. I have a small, beautiful child sleeping on each side of me, a cat snuggled above my head, and two dogs snoring at my feet. I am loved. I am worthy. I am the sun orbited by all of these beautiful creatures. I am lucky. I get all the kisses. All the hugs. All of the “I love you”s. They never worry that I will leave, that I won’t come home, that I will abandon them. They trust me with every breath they breathe.
I am so sorry for my late husband that he gave all of that up. That forever they will question his love for them. That is what being left behind by suicide does. It plays with your head, your heart, your everything. It leaves you confused for a lifetime.
I am still grateful for the life that I have. Solo parents are the strongest people you will meet. I never thought I would be one, but here I am more loved than the sun and my heart still full of joy.
If someone is feeling hopeless, helpless, or considering suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255).