Melissa took some time at the end of today’s show to honor mothers of every ilk (including the mothers of us, the #nerdland staff) in a moving “Footnote” essay. Some were mothers who are serving abroad in our armed forces; some waiting for children in those armed forces to come home. Some mothers are undocumented; some sacrificing to their last; some, like Marissa Alexander, are incarcerated and perhaps even giving birth behind bars. Melissa gave respect to those white mothers, like her own, who are raising conscious, self-loving children of color, to mothers who are gruff and/or kind, and mothers who either grieve today, or whose loss is grieved.
In that particular respect, I wanted to share another phenomenal essay, written in Ebony by New York-based writer and poet Saeed Jones about facing his first Mother’s Day without his mom, who passed away last year on May 12:
But here is the peace: grief is vast. I thought it would be like a river, powerful but with a clear direction. Instead, though, I’ve found that grief is an ocean. There is hell in grief, to be sure, but there is joy too. Now, though I sometimes cry, I more often feel a sense of awe at the depth of my connection to my mother. Perhaps this wonder is how I know that ten months and more have passed and that my mother, in some form, is back in the world. Awe at the undeniable fact that I will forever be the son of a fiercely beautiful woman. Awe at knowing just how exquisitely she prepared me to live and write my way into this world. And yes, her absence hurts, but her presence – and I feel it more and more each day – her presence moves me forward. Perhaps awe is the best word to describe this aspect of grief given its relation to the word awful.
Queen Elizabeth II has been quoted as saying “Grief is the price we pay for love.” Love, mother love in particular, is not free. In the fifth grade while on a camping trip, I got a letter from my mother that ended by saying “I love you more than the air I breathe. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.” A love like that is worth an infinite ache.
To all the mothers out there, have a wonderful rest of your Mother’s Day. To all those like Saeed facing today without your mothers, I hope you find strength and serenity. Melissa’s “Footnote” is below.