A Holiday Dedicated to the Person I lost

This day has been hanging over my head like a dark cloud for weeks. A day where social feeds are flooded with long-winded posts from fathers, sons, and daughters about motherhood and the special women in their lives they are celebrating, but here I am without a Mom, a Mother-in-law or a child. The closest thing that I have to celebrate motherhood is being a Mom to my cat. Every day for the past few weeks, I’ve gotten promotional emails from brands showcasing Mother’s Day discounts and “the perfect present for Mom”. On a run the other day, a sign in a local shop window read “gifts for Mom”. Each small reminder of this day is a sting in the gaping wound in my heart caused by my Mom’s absence. I would give anything to have my mom here with me today. To be perplexed over the perfect gift for her. To wear a floral dress and go to a fancy brunch where we order indulgent pancakes and mimosas.

On Sunday I purposefully stayed off of social media. Sure, I could have posted a photo with my Mom and a two paragraph caption, but that would mean I’d have to filter through hundreds of posts and stories of others sharing this day with their Mom. I just couldn’t do it and I hate that I felt that way. Mothers should be celebrated. Having a mom and being a mom are some of the greatest joys in life, but this year the pain I feel far outweighs my ability to be happy for others. I elected to turn off my phone and give myself a 24-hour break from social media. Instead of posting a montage of photos, I reflected on how lucky I was to have had such an incredible Mom, but I also cried because she’s not here.

I think about my future children that won’t have a Grandma. Not only is my Mom gone, but my husband’s Mother passed away unexpectedly when he was seven years old. Our children will have no one to sneak them an extra cookie after dinner or take them to the zoo. No one to drop them off to when Andrew and I need a break or a date night. I envision our kids coming home from school one day asking me and my husband what a Grandma is and why do they not have one. Often, I find my mind creating these hypothetical scenarios where I’m confronted with my grief and sadness over the loss of my Mom over and over again. Coincidentally, I met Andrew a month after we received my Mom’s terminal cancer diagnosis. Over the next four years, there was no debate or battle about who we’d spend time with over the holidays because we knew our time was limited. The last three Mother’s days Andrew and I took my Mom out to brunch, just the three of us. She stood in as Andrew’s pseudo-Mom while I squeezed every last ounce of time I had with her. I am not quite sure what I believe in as far as religion goes, but I know that some higher power put Andrew in my life. No one else could understand the gravity of having one of my most important people in your life ripped away from you too soon. Only he could understand that her terminal illness was both a blessing and a curse because we could savor our moments with her knowing the end was drawing near. A luxury that he did not have with his own Mom.

The reality is, I am confronted by the loss of my Mom every day. Not just on Mother’s Day. So, yes this day was hard for me, but every day is hard. I’m confronted with my Mom’s absence when I drive to work in the morning because that is when I’d always call her. I’m confronted by it when I put on her jewelry or an item of her clothing just so I can feel like she’s with me during the day. I’m confronted by it when I’m jolted awake from a dream where she makes an appearance and I can hear her voice clear as day and feel her energy as if she is laying next to me. I am confronted by it every single day.

As I began writing this post, I paused at the blank space for the title and then wrote, “A Mother’s Day Without a Mother”. I stopped for a second and I realized that wasn’t true. I am not without a Mother. I have a Mom and she still lives on with me every single day. Her physical absence is felt, but the spirit and legacy of who she was lives on within me and all of those who knew and loved her. So, I had a glass of Veuve Cliquot (her favorite) and finished writing this post. I didn’t write this so people would feel bad for me, I wrote this because I bet there are lots of other sons and daughters who have lost a Mom and are feeling the same way this week. I wrote this because I want you to cherish your Mom and remember that although she can be nosy or controlling and get on your nerves, I’d give anything to have my Mom here to annoy me.

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