You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. It’s one of those sayings that I used to toss around without ever letting it sink in. But not anymore. After spending time in children’s homes, this saying now penetrates me to the core and makes me sad and grateful. I can’t help but think about the loss these children have suffered. No mother, no father, often no grandparents.
How different would my life be, had I not had these key people? Who would I be without them? Who would they be without me?
The kids we support grieve the loss of their parents every day. Some say they feel guilty because their mother died in childbirth, and they feel like they killed her. Some wonder aloud what they did to deserve this awful fate. Some are so hurt they can’t communicate their pain, and they withdraw or refuse to eat or talk. The loss they have experienced is tragic and incomprehensible. Sometimes my heart feels heavy to know their stories. It’s hard to think about the pain and loss they feel.
I like to bring you optimistic, uplifting stories and tell you how well things are going in the children’s homes – because they are. But every once in a while, it’s important to let you know that behind the beautiful smiles and happy faces, there is an ineffable loss in each child we support. Not one of them is where they are without some trauma or tragedy. Every single one of them has a story of loss, sadness, and grief.
The food, education, clothes, beds, and clean water we provide are important. These things bring them life, security, and dignity. But it is the stable, loving, nurturing housemothers and social workers who provide the powerful ear of listening and soothing voice of understanding that heals them.
This Mother’s Day, be grateful if you have a mom or mom-like figure. Appreciate your grandmother for passing on important lessons about how to love, listen, and care. And consider supporting a (house)mother for children without parents in honor of the moms in your life, so she can love children the way we all want to be loved.
Thank you for being willing to feel for them,