• Katy Rigg

A Mother's Love

I can’t stop thinking about Richard Okorogheye today, the student whose body was found in a pond in Epping Forest, not too far from where I live. I can’t stop thinking about his mother, Evidence Joel, who has spoken about the devastation of losing her only child.

“My baby will never come home to his mummy again,” she said, and the pain of that sentiment rippled through me. He is 19 years old, and still her baby.

During the search for her missing son, she spoke to Channel 4 about how much she loved Richard, that he was a good boy, an intelligent boy, who loved spaghetti. There was some spaghetti waiting for him in the fridge for when he came home.

“I made a sauce for him,” she said, and it occurred to me that that is how mothers love. We feed, we clothe, we provide, we give. These tiny, humble ways of loving are sometimes all we have; a way to channel and contain this feeling that we are afraid will endlessly pour out and overwhelm us if we let it.

Richard's mother says she feels hollow now, and this, I believe. My son is my heartbeat, the air in my lungs, the perfectly shaped peg to complete the hole I didn’t know I had. I would be hollow too without him.

We are not meant to outlive our children. We are meant to watch them grow and thrive and be happy. We are meant to watch them fly away from us, equipped with the resilience and the ambition and curiosity we gave them…. But they are meant to come back, from time to time. They are always meant to come back.

May the strength and love of all mothers, everywhere, be with Richard’s mother now. May it carry her whilst she navigates the torture she is faced with. May she find peace and answers soon.

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