These are the desperate words that came from Myuran Sukumaran’s mother, Raji.

Apart from all the arguments put forth against the use of capital punishment, which I agree with, these words are the ones that cut right through me.


Tears well up as I repeat these words and try to imagine it being me, desperate to save my son. Truth is my imagination won’t even come close to the very real heartbreak Raji is feeling or Andrew Chan’s mother, Helen.

I am being deliberate in writing this post from a mother’s point of view. I don’t want to dismiss what the fathers and siblings are going through but I just want to speak about it as a mother.

I always tell my kids that their successes and failures are their own. I do this for two reasons.

One, to give them ownership of their choices; I think this is the first step to independence.

I’ve made my choices in my life and I own them. I actually feel more confident and have more conviction when I know my decisions are made for me, not for anybody else.

Second, to stop me, as their mother, from being a busy body. Because like I said above, my decisions were made for me. I don’t want to turn around and take a hypocritical stand on this one.

I don’t want fall into the trap of thinking of taking ownership for my children’s decisions, successes and failures.

But all mothers that have come before me tell me that you never stop worrying, and you never stop thinking ‘how can I make this better’.

Raji and Helen have the gut-wrenching task of burying their sons, something no parent should have to do. But if somewhere deep down inside they are wondering ‘how could I have made this better’, I hope they can be kind to themselves.

The hard thing about being a mother is accepting that some things are out of your hands.  Mothers are so protective; we carried our babies in our bellies, nursed, comforted, nurtured and taught. And then we have to let go.

Is it counterintuitive to let go after you’ve held on for so long? I don’t think so. That’s because we all imagine wonderful things for our children.  But when it goes wrong, we just want to wrap them back up again.

Raji and Helen, I have no words, I don’t know your pain, but I know your love.


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