The day before Mother’s Day, The Oregonian posted, unsurprisingly, an article on motherhood. What was surprising was it’s discussion of death in relation to mothers and their children with Tarvez Tucker, a doctor in the neuroscience intensive care unit at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, Oregon.
The article began with a candid statement by the journalist, Tom Hallman Jr: “If we’re honest, many children see Mother’s Day as an obligation. Rarely do we reflect on what a mother’s love means. Nor do we acknowledge the truth that in time it will be just another Sunday in May.”
This reflection was prompted by Dr. Tucker’s writings on the deaths of some mothers she has seen in the ICU. One story describes a mother fatally shot on a stormy night, asking the nurse to take care of her four-year old son who was afraid of thunderstorms. Another describes a mother with cancer refusing exhaustive, experimental treatment that would only give her two more months to go home to dye eggs with her five young children.
Hallman states that Tucker’s reflections resulted in her belief that “the most profound expressions of love are the ones between mother and child. Hallman notes that this love is not greater than that of the father’s, but it is different since the mother carries the baby within herself, resulting in a unique intimacy that is at the root of motherhood. The moment the child is born, the mother must introduce her child into the world, “and so begins a lifetime of letting go” that ends with the hope that the mother can die with her children by her side, able to continue her work of carrying the world forward.
He ended the article by including Dr. Tucker’s thoughts on her own gift of motherhood to her four sons, stating that her sons “think she’s too sentimental, calling her mushy when she tries to explain the depth of love for the babies who grew into the men who one day will be by her beside when her time comes.” But she does want to leave them a message on her deathbed since “in those last moments, I hear how people love each other.”
Read more of Dr. Tucker’s stories in the original article on The Oregonian.