Be mindful this weekend of moms who’ve lost children

Published 12:07 am Saturday, May 9, 2015

I could tell by the tone in the caller’s query, something was wrong.

“Have you talked to Connie or Rita today?”

I answered no and held my breath for the inevitable bad news to follow: The 18-year-old child of a lifelong friend died the previous night in a fiery automobile crash. No one, I learned later, should know the details. No one.

Figuratively speaking, my friend Starla buried her baby boy this week, the same baby with whom she labored on Mother’s Day, and birthed the day after.

She was an amazing trooper through an uplifting service for her fun-loving son, just two days before her own 50th birthday. But I’ve thought of her a million times this week, knowing that Mother’s Day, tomorrow, will be emotionally treacherous.

There seem to be mothers who have lost children all around me these days. I cannot begin to fathom their pain.

I’ve been privileged to watch closely as Donna Kelley has pulled herself up from the fresh pain of loss to start a foundation in memory of her daughter, Megan.

Donna spent every day of Megan’s two-year battle with cancer right by her side. Today, she continues to fight for Megan’s memory, and Megan’s vision.

“I knew Megan’s heart was heavy for her neighbors and fellow fighters,” Donna wrote. “Still I was shocked when, after she passed, I discovered a note on her iPad with highly-detailed plans for the ‘Megan Kelley Cancer Center.’ My child wanted to build a hospital of her own that would perfectly meet all the needs of patients, which she knew very well from her own experiences. There were floor plans, lists of materials and staff that would be needed, and even interior and exterior design plans! I was blown away by her dedication and sincere desire to help others. In honor of my Megan, I plan to accomplish as many of the goals we set together as I can. Thank you for your support.”

A group of excited volunteers has been hard at work putting together the foundation’s first fundraiser, sMiles for Megan, a 5K run and walk, which will begin at Andalusia High School at 8 a.m. You, like me, will be in awe of how this mom has turned her grief for something good.

I join millions of others this weekend in celebrating my own mother, and the precious memories of my grandmothers.

But my heart aches for those mothers for whom all the fuss is just a reminder of great love lost. If you know one of them, do something special for them, too.