Quite some time ago, I began writing a story. In many ways it is my mother’s story, but it is also not unlike many others. In honor of Mother’s Day, I give you a piece of this story. It is a tribute to the mothers who, like mine, made the ultimate sacrifice to give their child a better life. My mother chose life. I am forever grateful.
Rachel was only seventeen when she was sent to live with her grandmother and finish her schooling. She cried as she said goodbye to mother and father, but her tears dried quickly. She had learned, very recently, that tears were just a part of the process. They would continue to come and go, some days in waves, other days only a brief welling up inside that she would choke back. She knew how this event would end. She knew she would be back soon and life would go on. In this she could rest assured, yet she struggled to convince herself after the events she had endured in the past six weeks.
As Rachel thought back to that mild Friday afternoon, she felt the warmth of the sunlight pouring through the open window washing over her as she lay in that hospital bed. In this bed, she would spend the next two nights struggling with sleep unable to clear her mind and settle her heart. It wasn’t long before she really began to feel the intensity of the pain that filled her body. Radiating from her back, it spread like wildfire through her womb. She could not control her body as it began the grueling process of bringing forth life amidst the darkest shadows of her sorrow. Within moments that felt like a lifetime of suffering, Rachel brought her baby into the world and it was then that she wept. She wept from the pain and the relief. She wept from despair and grief. She wept because she was now preparing her goodbye.
The nurses cleaned the baby, swaddled her in a soft, warm blanket, and carried her away as Rachel’s cries filled the room. Rachel begged to see her baby. She begged for a moment alone with her. After seeing her suffer enough, one kind and gentle nurse brought Rachel her child. She watched as Rachel held her baby for the first and last time. She watched as Rachel studied her face so she would always remember. She watched as Rachel took the baby’s hand in hers, tracing each tiny finger. She watched the tears roll down her face, aged from her life on fast-forward. The nurse sat quietly and watched as Rachel uncovered her baby’s feet, examining every toe. She watched as Rachel leaned in to her baby and whispered softly, placing one last kiss on her forehead.
Rachel’s eyes met hers and the nurse knew it was time. Rachel offered up her baby and turned away to gaze out at the sunset, staring far beyond the horizon into an uncertain future.