An APS mother’s grief: How do you forget someone who was once a part of you?

“I know he's in a better place, but I can’t help thinking, why my child? I must not be a good mother.”

Sumbal Gilani October 16, 2015
Losing a loved one is very painful, but then this pain does vary depending on the loss itself. It is believed that the highest intensity of grief is experienced by a mother who loses her child. A mother’s love is the reflection of God on this earth; she raises her child in her womb for nine months and these nine months are more significant than her entire life put together.

She forms a bond with the child that is unbreakable, no matter how far the child strays from her, just the thought that the child is happy and content makes her happy in her part of the world. She can sense what the child feels and only she knows what would make the child feel better, as it was through her that Allah (SWT) created them. The blood running through their veins came from her and the first contact that they have with the world is through her. She feels like she is the connection between her child and this world, she wants to keep them safe, just like she did in the first nine months.

This delicate heart of a mother that beats with her child is shattered when a part of her very own being is taken away from her, to the world from where there is no coming back. She frantically tries to understand why it happened to her. It creates a void inside of her that she keeps on falling into over and over again, but every time she rises empty handed and bruised.

As a psychologist, my work is never easy. I have to look into the deepest darkest niches in people where they hide their desires and secrets. I discover them, neutralise them and present them to the person in the least painful way. During this process, I can feel the shadows of these discoveries on myself too, which I have to handle by reflecting and taking supervision. But then some experiences simply just leave me shaken.

Since the December 16th APS attack, the survivors of the attack have left me feeling this a lot. There are stories that I heard and have since been unable to forget. These people are brave to say the least, and I tell each one of them that being here on December 16th was not bravery, as it wasn’t your choice, but coming to the same premises every day and recalling what has happened shows actual strength.

I met one of the bravest people today, a mother; she lost her child in the APS attack. She started the conversation with these words,
“It’s so dark everywhere, I feel lost.”

Time has moved on, but it seems that her void keeps growing; I was looking at her and thinking would she ever be able to move past this episode, but then, how do you forget someone who was once a part of you? How do you forget someone whose reminder is your very own being?

She went on saying,
“I know he is in a better place, he would be happy but I can’t help thinking, why my child? I must not be a good mother.”

Even in this moment, I could see the instinct of a mother struggling with her need to give the best to her child. I once read somewhere that a mother never stops to be a mother, no matter what.

To think that there are so many mothers who have lost their children to these acts of terrorism, my heart just sinks as to incapacitate a mother means to handicap an entire family. A mother binds the family, she connects them but when she is locked in time, the other members of the family are disintegrated, not aware of each other’s struggles, but being enclosed in a wall of grief. And when this wall of grief finally wears off, they are all different people, not knowing each other and having come too far off from where they had started. What connects them is that grief, but it is the same thing that separates them.

Now that another December is approaching, the deadly December 16th stands tall as a reminder that it took away so many children and left grieving mothers; anniversary plans are being made to make this day memorable, let’s not forget it already is engraved too deeply on the hearts of this nation. I hope the day comes as a reminder of how we can move forward from here, not how we lost it all, for human psyche is fixated on the loses. And to all the mothers who are feeling lost, the child lives within them, and they will realise this when the grief wears off, till then the agony will tear their heart.
Sumbal Gilani The author is an MS scholar from DBS - NUST. A practicing Psychologist and a lecturer since 4 years, currently working in the APS boys Peshawar for trauma rehabilitation.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


Hozaifa | 7 years ago | Reply Excellent writing , indeed we all faced a huge loss, i dont have words for this, Well Done, Author.
saima Afzal | 7 years ago | Reply Its heart wrecking.....As a mother too grief is for life long.My kids also study in APS(Lahore ) the Shohdah are shinning examples for our kids....they achieved and set such high and peace should prevail....may the womb never suffer in any is too heart goes out to such brave mothers and lastly the young shohdah
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