It is 10 years ago today since my mother has been gone. I still remember it like it was yesterday. The day before was a Saturday and I had gone to my nephew’s soccer game with my little girl.
Later that afternoon, I would be taking overnight care of my mother with my aunt and her best friend. My sister and I were taking turns along with other family members since my mother had been on hospice for a week or so. Actually we had taken turns over the last month but the bed downstairs and oxygen tank just helped to make things easier for all of us. We had known for awhile that she would not get any better and logically we all know everyone goes but knowing your parent’s death is imminent is freakin strange, devastating but not quite yet. I had begun to have anxiety about the upcoming Mother’s Day (which came exactly a week after she passed) because what do you get your dying mother for Mother’s Day? Flowers, that will immediately wilt and remind her that she is? Candy that she won’t eat? A keepsake, for who at this point? Time with me she had as well as my care and love for her forever and always and I never had to make a purchase. I was guiltily relieved.
The night was long. She didn’t sleep soundly. The next day, while I was still there my godmother came to see her. When my sister and I switched later that day, her godmother came. She was there when she passed. I always thought those visits helped my mom to let go. She had picked these beautiful women long ago to help us along our way and they were still there and willing to do so and while I have them and plenty of other (thankfully) willing, able, loving, active fantastical surrogates, all of which deserve to be honored as such, Mother’s Day just really makes me want to shut down. When I think of what I want to do for Mother’s Day, all I see is me in bed in a hoodie with the hood on and closed in the fetal position crying either watching movies or listening to music she loved. It would make me feel horrible and yet horribly close to her. But I live in the world and as such, it cannot be…not forever anyway. I thought I could avoid Mother’s Day forever but the avoidance only lasted for as long as my grandmother would celebrate without me (and honestly how long I figured my mother would allow me to not celebrate with her, is that weird?). It got worse as my kids got older and wanted to celebrate with/for me. I still avoid celebrating as much as I can while trying to remember how wonderful the women in my family are and how much they deserve when I can’t.
Lately, I’ve been also been thinking about how long a decade is. If I didn’t have my mother from 0-10 years old, how different would I be? Good lord, if she was gone from 10-20? Well, rounding up, I’ve been without her from 30-40 and I know for a fact that I am a lesser person for her not being here. She wasn’t perfect but she was MY MOM. As a mom, I understand that we are the air for our kids, gravity. The essential of all essentials…and mine is gone.
Life goes on, I get it. My momma raised a smart girl. We muddle through. We do our best even as our hearts ache.