Mothers of the Missing

Huffington Post, May 7, 2014

Mothers of the missing. Whose hearts are placed in a vise of uncertainty. Who don’t know where their children are. If they are hurt. If they are alone. Who know that their children are living in terror. Whose minds are a horror of imaginings. The deadly poison of uncertainty that leaks into every pore. There isn’t a second of waiting that brings any peace.

Just the return of their child. The weight of the child in their lap again. Their arms holding the child tight.

You are not alone. We care. We are thinking of you and your children.

The cover of People magazine, this very week, tells one such story. I just read the harrowing novel, Room, by Emma Donoghue. It tells a similar tale of woe and loss and terror and uncertainty.

The situation in Nigeria has focused us on the plight of these abducted girls, but were we blind before to this possibility? It always takes a current event to snap us out of our collective fog, to clear away the cobwebs of our own inaction and make us take notice.

There is no “Happy Mother’s Day,” for them. No flowers. No chocolates. No breakfast in bed. No Hallmark greetings, perhaps ever again.

What can we do to help them and to make our Mother’s Day mean a little more? Zama Coursen-Neff of Human Rights Watch, and Diya Nijhowne of the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack make these suggestions.

What I know is that these mothers’ anguish must become my anguish. I need to do what I can do, because their daughters could be my beautiful daughter. Their sons could be my beautiful son.