I think most mothers would gladly take on their children’s suffering instead of watch them suffer. This is nothing new. It’s been said many times. I have nothing fresh or creative to add.
Like all mothers, I wanted to protect my children. I wanted to shelter them from "the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune." But that’s impossible, and fortune is indeed outrageous. Why does this or that happen? Why does this affliction alight on one person, willy nilly, through no fault of their own? How could it happen to your own child, the babe you held in your arms, so full of wonder and promise?
But there it is. In the bloom of life, with every blessing at hand--intelligence, ambition, character, vision—your child is struck down out of nowhere. You watch the struggle to hold on to dreams that slip away. You watch the eyes that shone with anticipation turn dull with resignation. As a parent, you search everywhere for answers, but eventually you have to accept that you are helpless to make it better. So you watch your child die by degrees. There is no reprieve, no cure, no end to it.
This morning I sat outside with my coffee for a few minutes and saw a hummingbird busy at the hummingbird feeder. And when I went to fill the dog’s water bowl, I saw a frog hiding in the mulch, blending in so well I almost didn’t see him. But I did see him and the hummingbird, and watched my dogs enjoying their kibbly meals as they always do, and it is these small joys that sustain me today.