“If I’m being honest, Mother’s Day didn’t mean as much to me when my mom was still alive as it does now that she’s dead. I loved my mom year-round, and she knew it. Spending special time together with her wasn’t reserved for special occasions. I was lucky that way – the luckiest.
And I knew it.
Now, Mother’s Day without a mother weighs down on me each year, a heaviness on my chest. It’s not a sharp pain. It’s an empty feeling that’s hard to shake. A feeling that I’ve grown familiar with these last few years. But ‘familiar with’ and ‘comfortable with’ are two very different things.
Mother’s Day is one of the annual reminders of a phantom limb; of the missing part of myself that’s been painfully lost, but I still can feel acutely. It’s an ache that ebbs and flows in its intensity. But it’s an ache, nonetheless.
On a day when everyone stops to express love and gratitude for their mother, I’m left with the dull absence of my own. It’s a day for mothers, but once a mother is gone it’s a day for her children to reckon with. With the passing of time, it’s perhaps a day to reminisce and honor the mother you had.
Sometimes, it’s just a day to muddle through.
My mother passed away in late April 2016. The timing of her death was especially hard on my sister and me – it fell just before Mother’s Day, and just before what would have been her birthday. It means that every spring we’re faced with these days that were once meant for celebration and are now filled with empty space.
But there’s never a good time to lose a mom, is there? Every season brings its own challenges. The holidays are always the toughest.
Even as a mother myself, I tend to think of Mother’s Day in terms of being a daughter. I think more of the loss of my mom than of the fact that I get a day for myself. I’m wondering if that changes over time. I think it might. I hope it might.
But the truth is I’ve spent a lot more of my life as a daughter than as a mother. Maybe when the proportions change – when I’ve been a mother for long enough – it will feel different. Or maybe I’ll always hold both in balance – the loss of my mom, the love of my kids.
Two sides of the same coin: a child to her mother, then a mother to her child. It’s a fusion as old as the earth; a repeating, infinite cycle. Your child will grow to one day mourn the loss of you, while their own little own hugs them tight with hands sticky and plump.
The world keeps spinning on and on. Flip sides of an eternal coin of love and loss.”
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