A few weeks ago I stumbled upon a tweet in my feed. I was connected to this Twitter member only through retweets and likes. As is the way with much of social media, if others had not reacted to the post, I mostly likely would never have seen it.
But I did. And once I started reading, it haunted me.
A mother asked for prayers for her twelve year old daughter
The original tweet was from Kaye Steinsapir, a mother of three, requesting prayers for her 12 year-old daughter suffering brain trauma from an accident. When I clicked on her handle, I followed the thread back to the day of the incident and read forward to present time.
The posts ran the gamut from informative and hopeful to pleading and petrified. I noted that the neediest and most desperate posts had the most interaction; less so for a good progress report. The Twitter universe was riding the emotional roller coaster with this mother, sensing her needs in the moment. Collectively easing their grip on the lap bar through the straightaways and holding on for dear life to endure the scariest turns and drops.
Hundreds of thousands of moms gave another mom the support she needed
Hundreds of thousands of individuals–mostly women-had somehow run across this story the same way I had and were invested in the outcome. Prayers were offered up, improbable recoveries recounted; all with little to no negative commentary about parenting skills or the details of the accident. Some criticized her request for retweets but the mothers circled their wagons, understanding the goal was prayer and support, not notoriety.
Initially I was taken aback by the overwhelming support, but upon reflection I realized she is me and I am her. What was clear through the replies and likes was that the bond of motherhood earns us a level of empathy rarely seen anywhere else.
Who of us cannot imagine the panic and fear of confronting the realities of your child’s life-altering injury? Which one of us would not take to the internet and engage anyone we could reach to join in prayer and hope?
I have never walked in her shoes, but motherhood earned me the same pair and we are all powerless over what steps this parenting journey may ultimately require.
The mother’s bio said that she had three children, meaning two siblings were in need of counsel and strength. I thought of my sister, my co-conspirator and life-long friend and how my very existence would be diminished without her. This family was facing the prospect of never being whole again; an irreparable fissure.
But what are we sure of, really?
There is no certainty in life and fate is capricious
Each dawning day is a mystery. The choices we make unconsciously dictate the outcome from the inconsequential to the crucial. We all do the best we can with the information we have in that moment. I instinctively knew that this mother was reliving every minute of the hours leading up to her daughter’s injury, analyzing what she could’ve done differently to prevent this tragic turn.
Much like strangers’ social media interactions carry the power to determine our online experience, such is life as well. We have the illusion of control over our actions and that of loved ones, but the reality is that someone or something unknown to us can set in motion a series of events that render us helpless. It is the chain reaction effect of the world at large and parenting in particular.
When you get to the heart of it, all of the things that go right in any day are miracles. So, who were we to judge this mother for asking for a bigger one? The collective group appealed for divine intervention and awaited positive news.
Unfortunately, that good news never came. Approximately two weeks after entering the hospital, this young girl was called home. Only not the home any one of us following the tale had hoped. Although the collective wish of the masses was futile, the outpouring of love and encouragement was not.
In the days following her unspeakable loss, this mother made the universal reach of her daughter’s plight her legacy. The family estimated that individuals from over 30 countries had been united in the quest to heal one young girl.
One mother’s plight brought unity and harmony
In a time of rampant sadness, divisiveness and uncertainty, one mother’s request brought about what politicians, poets and preachers could not. Harmony. We came from across the globe as one to lift and lighten this family’s burden of excruciating fear and grief without regard for race, religion or economic status.
In essence this mother did receive a miracle, not the one she asked for but a different one and each one of us was lucky to have played a small part in it. Global support is continuing to lift this family as it navigates a path no parent wants to traverse and that is further proof that the bond of parenthood comes complete with its own language, emotions and fears.
Even if our connection to other mothers is through a click on a mouse, we still know each other in all the ways that matter.