Mother’s Day is a bittersweet day for me. I want to cradle my babies and absorb the blessings that they are; however, I just as much would enjoy telling everyone to go piss off. I don’t have my Mom anymore, so please, keep the ooie gooey convo about how much you love and admire yours, to a low whisper. Please don’t get me wrong, I love to celebrate Mothers. I don’t think we do it enough. But this particular holiday, the one where you celebrate your own Mother…it’s tough.
It’s not memories of past Mother’s days that make me tear up. I don’t have any to remember. It wasn’t until I was 14, that my Mom was stable enough to take care of me. I’ve written before about how saddening it is that when my Mother’s mental stability and addictive demons were finally in a safe place, her body rejected life, and she died from cancer. I was just shy of 16.
Not having a Mother around to celebrate is only half the battle for me this year. What’s just as difficult is coming to terms with what kind of Mother she was. I recently asked an older cousin if she had any memories of my Mom. Her response brought this struggle to the surface again. She said a few, but they weren’t anything I would really want to know. I didn’t push it. I didn’t want to. I know the memories would hurt me and only enforce my inability to sugar coat or glorify who my Mom was.
What’s so tough about her not being here now though, is not being able to ever learn my Mother’s story. I never got to hear her side of things. What it was like being her. I never knew her parents either. Both of them died before I ever got to know them. What effect did her parent’s have on her? What did it mean to her to lose her brother to suicide? What was it like to have your first baby at 15? Was it the chicken or the egg – did the drugs & alcohol come before the bipolar disorder or after? Where were you, when you weren’t around? Did you want to take care of us and couldn’t, or are you just built differently than me – without a maternal heart.
It’s odd to me that as I think about these questions, I’m not angry. I’ve never been angry at my Mother. When she did pop in for a few years, months, weeks or even days, I was the happiest. It feels strange because it feels like I should be angry at her. She made choices that negatively affected all four of her children and I don’t even know of the damage outside of that. Perhaps I’ve channeled that anger somewhere or at someone else. I don’t know.
Leading up to Mother’s Day is always harder on me than the actual day. My eyes and ears pick up on every thing – the sappy commercials, the questions about plans and of course, the awkward bump in conversation, when the other person realizes, he is talking to someone that no longer has a Mother to buy flowers for. The overload forces me to think about my Mom and in a sense, mourn her. I mourn her loss, her absence in mine and my children’s life but mostly, I mourn her life. It was cut short at such a tragically ironic time. A life’s big fuck you.
My husband has done a good job of creating a tradition on Mother’s Day, where we go for a nice hike and buy flowers for the garden we planted in honor of my Mom. That always makes the day bearable and actually enjoyable.
So to Motherless Momma’s and Motherless daughters and sons everywhere, don’t feel guilty if you would rather sleep through the day, or even the week before Mother’s Day. You’re not alone. Throw the blanket over your head and go have yourself an ugly cry. And then gather up your babies and celebrate, if you feel like it.
I’ll always raise a glass to my Momma. She gave me life. She gave me qualities that make me a pretty awesome human being. She did the best she could. I’ll always love and cherish her, on Mother’s Day and everyday.