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Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: Mother’s Day in the Midst of Mourning

On this dreary Wednesday morning as I sit down to write what should be a happier column in honor of Mother’s Day, I am overcome with a mixture of emotions. I’m no different in most respects than any others in our region who are mourning the loss of two of our Watauga County Sheriff’s Deputies and three others whose tragic deaths one week ago today left us shaken to the core.

But, I am different than most because I am the mother of a deputy sheriff, whose safety and well-being I have prayed for daily for almost a decade when he answered the call to serve and protect.

I have gone through all the “what-ifs” and the “whys,” but sometimes, there just are no explanations. Sometimes, life just doesn’t make sense.

While I have tried hard to allow my faith to be stronger than my fear, both then and now, I am mourning with our county and with every officer who ever put on a badge to uphold the law — and with their families.

I cannot know the depths of the gut-wrenching pain that my son and his comrades are experiencing this week. I won’t pretend to know the deep sorrow of loss felt by the parents and other family members of these two fallen heroes.

Three generations of my family have served in law enforcement: my father, my brother and now, my son. My brother’s death occurred while he was serving as a sergeant with Avery County Sheriff’s Dept., but it was by natural causes. Nevertheless, the pain was excruciating, even minus the devastating circumstances surrounding our most recent situation here in Watauga County.

As a mother and grandmother I am hurting for many reasons, but I am so grateful that I am a mother to a special young man who is willing to put his life on the line for his fellowman every day. And I’m thankful for all the calls, texts, messages, etc. we have received in the last week on his behalf.

Now, as thousands of us prepare to gather tomorrow, Thursday, May 6 2021, to pay our final respects to Sgt. Chris Ward and K-9 Deputy, Logan Fox, my prayer is that we never forget. Don’t let this tragedy be forgotten. Don’t let their deaths be in vain. We all have much to learn through this loss.

Let’s maintain the same sense of unity that we’ve been expressing for the last week. Let’s hold each other up in love and prayer. And most of all, let’s support our law enforcement officers. Show them compassion and respect. Let them know that they are not alone in their deep valley. Buy their meals at the drive-through or at the local diner, drop them a card in the mail, speak or wave to them on the street — and do your part to cooperate when that blue light comes on behind you — or when you have to call for their help.

And for you mothers out there this week, I just can’t come up with my usual recipes for a Happy Mother’s Day, and I know you understand.

For those of you blessed to still have your mother with you, please treat her well. If you are a mother, cherish the honor you’ve been given.

It’s been a hard year for us all, with many parents, children, and other loved ones taken through tragedy, COVID, cancer and various illnesses.

My heart hurts for us all, but my hope is that we will come out stronger on the other end.

I will share a poem in honor of mothers that I found years ago. It seems fitting for a time such as this —and I hope it will help someone understand what we’re all about.

Why Mother’s Cry

Author unknown

A little boy asked his mother, “Why are you crying?” “Because I’m a woman,” she told him.   “I don’t understand,” he said. His Mom just hugged him and said, “And you never will.” Later the little boy asked his father, “Why does Mother seem to cry for no reason?” “All women cry for no reason,” was all his dad could say. The little boy grew up and became a man, still wondering why women cry.

Finally, he put in a call to God. When God answered, he asked, “God, why do women cry so easily?” God said: “When I made the woman, she had to be special. I made her shoulders strong enough to carry the weight of the world, yet gentle enough to give comfort. I gave her an inner strength to endure childbirth and the rejection that many times comes from her children. I gave her a hardness that allows her to keep going when everyone else gives up, and take care of her family through sickness and fatigue without complaining. I gave her the sensitivity to love her children under any and all circumstances, even when her child has hurt her very badly. I gave her strength to carry her husband through his faults, and fashioned her from his rib to protect his heart. I gave her wisdom to know that a good husband never hurts his wife, but sometimes tests her strengths and her resolve to stand beside him without giving up.

And finally, I gave her a tear to shed. This is hers exclusively to use whenever it is needed. You see my son,’ said God, ‘the beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman must be seen in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart — the place where love resides.”