By Robert Wood, Social Media Adviser – The Prison Scholar Fund

This mother day many mothers all across the United States will miss the presence of children lost to gang violence and/or fatal encounters with law enforcement. I don’t always know what leads up to these incidents or what exactly happened in each case, but as a father I know if I lost a child I would be devastated and what lead up to it or why it happened would not matter. What would matter is the loss of a loved one and the void it injected into my world. This Mother’s Day I would like to extend my sincere condolences to all those mother’s who suffered the loss of child to gang violence or to fatal encounters with law enforcement. Dealing with these situations is not easy. The situations are not always black and white. They often fall into gray areas. What I mean by that is the following:  in the cases of fatal encounters with law enforcement people ask who was at fault? What else could have been done? Why my child? and no answer that can be given will rectify the situation. In the cases of gang violence mothers often don’t want to believe their kid(s) were involved in gangs or that they did something horrible enough to put their self in a position where someone would want to kill them, and at times, the kids or young adults killed, were not gang members or associates. They were just kids or truly just people, often very good people minding their business caught up in the cross fire of things unrelated to them or any of their actions. For a mother it makes no difference. The loss of a child is devastating. I would like to let those mothers who have lost a kid(s) to this type of violence know that you are not at fault. You are still a mother and you a have a right to hold your head up high.

In many instances people want to blame the mom for the sins of the kid or blame the kid for something they didn’t cause or actually had nothing to do with. I assert that is a bad idea and that in most cases no fault at all lays with the mother. You loved them. You nurtured them. You did all you could to make sure they knew right from wrong. Regardless of all of that, with all the effort and all the love you gave them, one senseless incident took something beyond special away from you and them – a life. I understand that it leaves a void beyond imagination in your life, and yet in most cases you have found the strength and resilience to move forward just like your lost loved ones would want you to. I would like to remind you that you are still woman, still a mother, and still deserving of love, adoration, and respect. I would also like to tell you something that your lost loved one would tell you if they had the opportunity. Believe me, as much as you wish you could talk to them and be with them again, they wish just as strongly to let you know: Please, even as you reflect on your loss have as happy of a Mother’s Day as possible and understand that you are amazing and your strength in these situations is applauded even as you heal and begin to spread the very special joy and love that only someone who is, or has known motherhood, can. Happy Mother’s Day. You are special and as we celebrate you this Mother’s Day we also mourn your loss, understand you’re cherishing memories and nourishing deep wounds, and encourage and embrace your healing process. Happy Mother’s Day. You are special. You are resilient. You are amazing. You are a mother!

Sincerely, Bobby