This time of year is joyous for many mothers. They anxiously await Mother's Day, maybe celebrated with hand-drawn cards, breakfast in bed, or a bouquet of flowers. I, too, love being celebrated as a mother and feeling like maybe I am making a difference in my childrens' lives. As a daughter, though, it is a bittersweet holiday for me, as I am unable to honor my mother in these traditional ways.
I lost my mother November 1, 2000. I remember it like it just happened, and although nearly nine years have passed since my mother's death, the wound on my heart is still just as fresh as it was that day. The long hours in surgery with no word on her condition, the words "She's not going to make it" echoing from the doctor's mouth, the disbelief that my mother was dying... even now, the memories are clear and very painful. The loss and longing for her to be here again, on this earth, is so very real.
Although I miss my mother every day of the year, Mother's Day is especially hard for me as it is typically a holiday where families get together with those mothers. I am envious that I am unable to do so. I am saddened that she is not here and my children will not know her. I am angry that she was taken too soon. I am broken because my mother is gone. My arms ache to hug her and my ears yearn to hear her voice, and even as I write this, the tears are unstoppable as the hurt repeats itself.
It's not fair, I tell myself.
I don't want to have to visit and leave flowers next to a granite marker in a cemetery. I don't want to have to close my eyes and remember her face, her laugh, her smell only to realize that memories are the only place they exist.
I don't want her to be gone, but that decision wasn't up to me.
So how do I honor her this time of year? By remembering her, telling my children stories about their angel nana in heaven, repeating some of her quirky sayings or actions to feel like she's still here. I honor her by being a good mother to my daughters and by teaching them the same values she taught me. I honor her by being the best person I can be and by continuing to try and be a daughter of whom she would have been proud. I honor her by missing her and wishing she were here.
Though I can't give her a gift or take her out for a special dinner, I will celebrate my mother and her life this coming Sunday. I hope that somewhere, somehow, she feels celebrated and knows that she made a difference in the life of her daughter.