Little did I know, when I taught my children to love unconditionally and to help others they would ultimately be learning to help me, their mother, as well. Little did I know. Oh, so very little.
When I taught special needs children, I noticed that when other children talked to them they became very happy. So, I told my children who were in elementary school at the time to talk to the special needs students in their school.
I said, “Just say hi to them. It will make their day.” I added, “If you ever see any child sitting alone at lunch or notice they don’t have any friends, I want you to talk to them. Become their friends. You are popular and many children like you. If you start talking to a child that has no friends, they will have you as a friend and others will follow your lead. Before you know it these children who were once all alone will not be alone anymore.”
My children listened. My son noticed that there was little boy who didn’t have any friends. He started talking to this little boy and invited him to his birthday parties. Pretty soon his friends invited him to their parties, as well. He was no longer alone. He had friends.
A few days before my suicide attempt, my son Keagan and my daughter Kylie were worried about me. My back door was unlocked, so they walked in and found me all alone, sitting in the dark in my favorite old yellow ochre Lazy Boy—the one with my Grandma’s lace doilies covering up the worn spots.
“What are you doing, Mom?” my son Keagan asked in a very calm and gentle voice.
“What do you mean?” I responded knowing full well what he meant.
“Why are you sitting all alone in the dark? he asked knowing why before he asked.
“I like being alone and I like being in the dark,” I said in an uncaring tone because I could not care about anything at the time. I had already died while breathing. I felt dead. I was gone inside. There was nothing left. I sat in the dark because the dark matched me. I was dark. My life was dark. I couldn’t care about anything, especially myself.
My son stood at the entry way of my living room staring at me as tears trickled down his face slowly, one at a time. I saw them. He saw that I saw them and wiped them away.
It was too late. I saw the tear. The tear I could not catch The tear I could not wipe from my baby boy’s eye. Another tear I could not save. Another one I missed because my own dried up tears interfered with my ability to be a mother. I am his Mom and I am supposed to catch his tears no matter how old he is.
I missed those tears that time and many times before when I was too sick to catch his tears and wipe them from his face. I remember his pain then and his pain hurts me now. I try not to visit that place where painful memories live. The past is gone and I must be so busy living today that I cannot fear tomorrow or fret about yesteryear. I am alive now. Fully living and well.
I will be more than ready to catch all my children’s tears when they need me too. I will pick them up better, stronger and higher than I ever have before. They are adults now, but at times children still need their mother’s love and hugs and to catch their falling tears. I am ready now. I am back.
Little did I know that when I taught my children to be good people by helping others they would ultimately be learning to help me, their mother. Little did I know that I would be the one that was all alone. Little did I know one day I would not have any friends. Little did I know I would be the one alone and isolating for long periods of time.
Little did I know I would be a person that would be ostracized and singled out as different. Little did I know I would be a person cruelly stigmatized by others because I had a mental illness. Little did I know I would be the one that needed help.
Little did I know that when I taught my children to love unconditionally and to help others they would end up helping me and saving my life.
~written by Susan Walz
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