The mother had to choose between religion or her sons' lives. She chose religion. The writer of 4 Maccabees agrees with this choice, "O more noble than males in steadfastness, and more courageous than men in endurance are you. O guardian of the law, overwhelmed from every side by the flood of your emotions and the violent winds, the torture of your sons, endured nobly and withstood the wintry storms that assail religion."
Reading this, I can't imagine having to choose between my children or my religion. Then I wonder what I do sacrifice to protect religion.