You’re probably wondering why I’m writing about Mother’s Day now instead of in May. (I know Mother’s Day is celebrated earlier in the year in the UK and Australia, but for some reason, we celebrate it in May here in the US). Whatever the case, June is the month for Father’s Day (last Sunday, to be exact) and so a Mother’s Day post doesn’t seem to fit, does it?
Well…some of you know that I lost my mother in March. Her illness was mercifully brief (all things considered), but I don’t know how long it will take for me to feel normal again. I don’t know that I ever will. I know that there are a few people who don’t have good relationships with their mothers (and I’m not saying mine was perfect), but that doesn’t change the fact that her passing is something I’m struggling with…and there will always be a hole in my heart. I don’t see that I will ever “get over” it. She meant too much to me for too long a time.
My sister and I are doing our best to help my dad, and he’s doing all right, but he’s alone now. He and mom would have been married fifty-two years this year. And as I’ve reflected over my life (knowing mom was nearing the end made my mind go there, constantly reliving childhood moments), I can see that everything my father did in life was for her. Yes, sure, by extension he also did things for our family, but it was all about mom. She’s gone now, so he’s struggling to find reasons to stay. I’m doing what I can to help, but I know there’s only so much I can do, especially when coping with my grief. I still have a hell of a time even talking about it. I can’t do it without having tears well up in my eyes.
The point I’m trying to make is that our mothers mean more to us than we often realize. Just the day after she was gone, I thought of so many questions I never asked her that I should have—because I’ll never have the answers now. Why, all of a sudden, did those things seem important? And, if they were, why the hell didn’t I think to ask them before?
Fortunately, we did know the end was near, and so I was able to tell her all she meant to me. Last fall, I wrote her a four-page letter (because I knew I wouldn’t be able to say all those things because emotion would choke me up) and several times I was able to tell her that I was grateful that she was my mother.
Our mothers give us life; they nurture and care for us; they prepare us for our lives outside the nest. They are such an integral part of who we are…so how do we keep living once they’re gone? That’s what I’m working on right now.
I wasn’t able to celebrate Mother’s Day this year (as a mother)—it was too painful. My kids didn’t completely understand why, but I think they got it. I hope next year I can enjoy it and by then it will be a tribute to my mother, a time to honor and remember her—because her memory will live on in my heart.
So…all I have left to say is this: Cherish your parents while you have them. If you have differences with them, set them aside. Forgive and forget. Unless you were abused or severely scarred by your parents, realize that they did the best they could (they’re human, too!) and that they love you. So love them back and appreciate them, because you won’t have them forever…and you’ll want to have good memories to look back on when they’re gone.