I have always been a little bittersweet about Mother’s Day. My own mother passed away seven years ago, on May 1st, 2006, a few short days before my first Mother’s Day. At the time of her death, I was 7 months pregnant with my first child.
Experiencing the loss of my mother was devastating. Trying to articulate what my mother meant to me seems an impossible task. We were related by blood, but bonded as friends and kindred spirits. To lose her was to lose my closest friend and confidante. To replace her is impossible.
Just to be clear, our relationship was not perfect. My mom immigrated to Canada from Europe, and many of her views could be considered “Old World”. We clashed on many occasions, and at times she infuriated me to no end. When I met the man who I eventually married, she was very upset with my choice of boyfriend, and our mother-daughter bond was strained for many months. Being estranged from her almost destroyed my relationship with my (then) boyfriend.
Then, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, and our world changed. She nearly died shortly after diagnosis, but rallied back and we had a rebirth in our relationship. She saw the world more clearly, having been so close to death. In the months of her chemotherapy and radiation treatments, we spent a lot of time together, and talked about many things. She lamented the time and effort she put into things that she no longer felt were important, like having an impeccably clean home. She expressed regret at not having cherished her family and friends while she stressed so much about her career. That time we spent in the 18 months before her death were both gut-wrenching, and precious.
So here I am 7 years later, and I am now a mother of two beautiful boys. Her words to me resonate every day: “Having kids is the hardest job in the world….and also the most rewarding”. Many times she told me that I would never understand the depth of love that a mother has for a child until I had kids of my own. She was absolutely correct. Even in my haze of grief and sorrow, when I gave birth to my first child 67 days after her death, the enormous love I had for my son almost overwhelmed me.
I don’t know how people deal with grief, I only know how I experience my own. I feel the acute pain of her absence almost every day. For me the word grief is a word which is present tense; I don’t know how or when I will ever “get over it”. Dozens of times each day I think of her, as I try to insert her into the mundane details of my day to day life.
And so on Mother’s Day this year, as every year, I will have a wonderful meal with my husband and kids, and be thankful for the blessing that they have been in my life. And I will visit the cemetery, and sit beside her tombstone and shed a few tears. And I will continue to miss her, and wish that my Mother’s Day included her sitting beside me.
King James Version (KJV)
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;