Mothers’ Day 2015: Remembering Siwe

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Although I gave birth to my first child at 26 years old, I have been a mother since I was 9 years old. I am a nurturer that was raised by my mother and grandmother. I feared motherhood knowing that is was an “all or nothing,” “ride or die” endeavor. Once I decided to take the journey, I JUMPED in. I challenged my fears and thought I had won as I raised my son. Then I gave birth to my daughter 3 years later. I WAS NOT READY. She was EVERYTHING I was NOT. I settled in for a LONG haul of new learning with this girl. The “long” haul only lasted 15 years.

NOT LONG ENOUGH.

I thought I had more to teach her but oh was I wrong. Siwe, ever my teacher, had more to teach ME… Now, almost 4 years after her death by suicide, I continue to learn from her, for her and through her.

Mother’s Day Reflections

I have always felt that people, mothers, fathers should be celebrated and acknowledged regularly, not just once a year. Now as a mother of two young men, I still feel this way. However, after losing my girl, Mother’s Day is thoughtful. I reflect on my failures as a mother, and there are plenty. I forgive myself for each and every one. I reaffirm that I have always done my best for my children with the information I had at the time. Mother’s Day is a series of dichotomies. It is somber and celebratory. It is simple and complicated. I am still a mother. I am still amazing. AND I still lost my one and only daughter on June 29th, 2011 to depression.

I will celebrate all of my mothers (birth and extended family) on Mother’s Day and every day. I will continue to live from what Steven Pressfield calls the Code of Necessity, “The battle must be fought anew EVERY day.” As such, since I am still a mother I will get up each day and live life urgently. Death is a reminder for the living to live.

I pray Sule and Eric will live long enough to bury me. But even if I survive my children, I AM A MOTHER. It is important to me that I take a stand for ALL mothers. I will continue to spread my wings and fly in spite of my loss. Join me.

Happy Mother’s Day today and every day. I believe that you too, did and continue to, do your best.

Dionne Monsanto is on the Board of the New York City Chapter of AFSP. She is the Executive Director of The Siwe Project, which was founded in memory of her daughter.