Note: we are republishing this story amid recent reports that show more and more Americans believe we’re in the middle of a national mental health crisis. More on this here: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2022/01/08/mental-health-americans-see-crisis-amid-ongoing-covid-pandemic/9135532002/?gnt-cfr=1
A mother's post about drawing a heart on her young son's wrist went viral.
Liz Petrone wrote about her son on Facebook, explaining that his anxiety had become severe for no apparent reason.
"Maybe it’s the way the seasons shift, a little at a time so slowly until it’s not slow at all anymore and it’s become cold so fast that you swear you inhaled the warm air of early fall and you exhaled in a foggy smoke of breath into the holidays," she wrote.
"Or maybe it’s just that he’s been asking me every single morning since he started school in September: 'Mommy, is today Christmas?' and forever I’d just laugh and say oh no baby, we have a ways to go, except now that’s not so true anymore and the anticipation is so much I think he might spontaneously combust."
Petrone said that one day, her son cried as his school bus was pulling away from the bus stop. She attempted to comfort him from outside of the bus, reaching her hands out to him as the bus drove farther away.
"The next morning we sat at the bus stop together and I pulled a pen from my coat pocket. I grabbed his wrist, kissed the blue of his veins where the blood we share flows through his veins, and drew this heart," she wrote.
"'I know it’s hard sometimes out there,' I told him as the bus pulled up to take him away. I want you to look at this heart every time it feels like too much. I want you to look, and I want you to remember that no matter what happens out there someone is here waiting for you to come home. Someone loves you.' He crossed the road, climbed the bus steps, and I watched this time as his face appeared in the window.
"I waited for him to see me, to smile or wave or even to cry, but he never even looked at me. Instead, he looked at his wrist. know it’s hard out there a lot of the time for a lot of us. I know the holidays can amplify that and so can the cold and so can the dark. I do. But maybe what we all need to remember is just that simple. Maybe it’s not a fix, not by a long shot, but it’s a comfort just the same, and comfort can go a long way when you know someone loves you."
The post quickly went viral, with many applauding the mother's beautiful way of comforting her son during the time that they were apart.
"This is amazing....share it as far as it will go," one reader commented on Facebook.
"Beautiful! Great idea," another wrote.
"Good mom! Nice story," another added.
Sources: Liz Petrone/Facebook