I reposted this on Facebook the other day.  I wondered if it seemed like I was bragging that I was the "strongest person in the world".  The truth is that I think I am pretty strong....especially when I start thinking about how I thought I was strong before losing Max.  That was nothing.  My strength was in its infancy.  It is shooting through the roof now.  But - when I read this quote, I wasn't actually thinking about my own strength, though I obviously only know about this kind of strength because of the experience that I've had.  I was thinking about all of the men and women that I know who've been through what I've been through.  They are the strongest people I've ever known.  Any one of them would take any kind of disease, torture, diagnosis and/or death onto themselves rather than know and live through their children's death.  Of course they would trade their own lives for those of their kids - what parent wouldn't?  Some of their stories feel more unbearable than others - if that is even possible.  Senseless, pointless, meaningless loss.  The guilt and anger and deep sorrow that they carry is overwhelming.  And still, they are some of the funniest, warmest, most self deprecating, intuitive and lovely people I have ever met in my life.  Without a doubt - they are the strongest people I've ever known.

I wasn't bragging about me - I was bragging about all of my new friends.

* By the way, it obviously should say "parent" and not just mother.  Grieving dads are strong AND overlooked.


Auntie Mip said...


There is no bragging when there is truth. I have said countless times, just said it again the other day, that my parents are the strongest people I know.

I still do not know how they did it, but my childhood was one of happiness and joy. Oh sure there were rough days where we got "in trouble" or knew even in our young minds that money was tight or mom and dad were stressed. But there was never a dark cloud of grief over our lives even though I know my parents have lived in that grief since April 12, 1968.

It takes enormous strength to be able to live with vulnerability. To allow yourself to love and assume that those you give that love to will be here the next day when you know what the true worst case scenario life has to offer is. To lean in to life when every fiber of your being is screaming to crawl in a hole and die. To love your children enough to give them joy when you only know pain.

Your strength is giving Mo that very same joy. And one day he will know this. And he will stand in awe of that strength.

In the midst of all your pain and suffering Abby, I hope you take a moment to look deep into Mo's smile and see the strength of his parents!

Abby Leviss said...

Yes, Auntie Mim! "To lean into life when every fiber of your being is screaming to crawl into a hole and die"! This is exactly it. Exactly. And even though I'm doing it myself, I sometimes wonder how other parents I know in my position are doing it. It takes so much strength, so much courage. Thank you Auntie Mim. It sounds like you grew up with amazing, loving parents.