It was all over the local media. A struggling and hard-working 30-year-old mother of four dealing with many emotional and financial difficulties after her husband walked out on her and her young children died of tragic circumstances that didn’t have to happen. I knew her because she worked at my kids’ daycare. She was buried on Friday after it was believed she jumped from moving car and died as a result of her injuries.
So many people jumped to criticize, but I knew better than that. I barely knew her, but I knew about her marital and emotional issues as I approached her a couple months back after her nine year old was bullying my son. She told me that her children had a difficult time dealing with their father’s departure from their lives and she broke down in tears. I reassured her that she was the better parent because she stuck around. That was my only major conversation with her, and I had told myself that I had been there, and that I should make an effort to get to know her better. I never followed through.
My heart reaches out for her children who have now lost two parents from their lives, an absent father and a mother who tried to be both parents. I know that is too late to say that I should have gotten to know her better and to help her as best as I could because if anyone understood, it would be me. I remember how I had hit rock bottom nine years ago when I lost everything that mattered, and I struggled to be a single mother. It took a long time to heal but I did it, and in the eyes of my family and friends, I did it without breaking a sweat, but that was far from the truth. I broke down on a daily basis as I tried to be everything to my son. I also missed my daughters and because I never knew how they were growing up and how they were being cared for, I was consumed with hate, anger and pain, and I had emotional setbacks. In addition, I had to live with (and I still do) a guilty conscience for walking away and not fighting harder for my girls.
I dealt with criticism from so many who did not know or could even begin to understand the battle that I fought every day. Because of that, I have learned not to judge others and how they handle their struggles. It angers me that people choose to judge a mother who was hurting so bad, and tried to fight that same battle every day. So in honor of that young mother’s memory, please don’t judge or make it an effort to reach out to someone who appears to be in need. Not everyone is strong; some of us need guidance along the way.