My social media feeds have been flooded lately with ways to handle the loss of a mother on Mother’s Day. Although not all have said it, some have referred to me as a motherless daughter. I understand the title, after all I am someone’s daughter and neither my mother or grandmother are with me. However, I disagree with this title.
The title is taken from a wonderful book Motherless Daughters by Hope Edeleman. As a grief counselor, I recommended it, I’m almost certain we held a Motherless Daughter’s event. I even read a passage as part of my Mom’s eulogy.
Nonetheless, I didn’t feel comfortable with the title before I lost my mother. Now, I am even more uncomfortable with it.
My mother and grandmother have been gone for two years now. When I wrote my first Mother’s Day post after the death of my Mom, I knew I would also be without my grandmother soon. I had hoped to have her with me for a few more years (I was supposed to have my Mom with me for another 20 -30 years) but there are times when life does not end up like you wish.
These two women are not physically with me. However, they are a significant part of who I am. As a child I was loved, cherished and spoiled. As an adult, I knew that either of them was only a phone call away. These two women were strategic architects in the life that I now live. They taught me to love, to be independent and I learned from their mistakes and their victoires.
I did not suddenly lose these parts of myself upon their death. Although I do not have the luxury of picking up the phone or sitting across the table from them, I was able to learn from them while they were living. As a result, they continue to live on through me. My husband sees my Nanny in me through my sense of humor and sassiness; I recognize my mother in myself when I meticulously sort my laundry.
Even two years later, they continue to mother me with the wisdom they left me.
I find myself talking to them in my prayers or as I go through my day. I receive responses in the way of a solar light that quit working nearly a year ago (a gift from my Mom) that suddenly began to glow. Windchimes blow when there is little air to move them and robins land by me, unafraid of my movement, often staring at me as if they are delivering a message.
None of this is to say that Mother’s Day is not difficult for me. Everywhere I turn, I have been inundated from every direction about Mother’s Day. Even the satellite radio stations remind me that Mother’s Day is coming.
The difficulty in not having my Mother here is that the media makes it a point to constantly remind me of what I can no longer touch or speak to. Sunday is a day where Mother’s will be glorified everywhere from church to the drug store. The commercialism of the day constantly points out to those without a mother that we don’t fit in anymore. We are misfits on this holiday..
Two years ago, I was numb to this holiday as I was dealing with my grandmother’s illness. Last year, I was returning from a vacation from Jamaica and had to block my social media feeds because everything was about Moms. Although I do not know how I will feel on Mother’s Day, the days leading up to it have not been horrible. I find myself annoyed with the saturation of Mother’s Day programming on talk shows but I am mostly able to ignore the commercials and have been able to walk by the Mother’s Day cards. Honestly, as with many holidays when one is grieving, I wish I could skip over it.
I did become tearful as I looked at flowers recently. It was (an expected) tradition to buy everyone hanging baskets for Mother’s Day. I remind myself that it is normal and ok to be sad. I miss them everyday. The holiday of Mother’s Day simply makes their absence larger.
However, I am not motherless. They were here. They existed and I am part of their legacy. To say I am motherless would be taking away the years of love and lessons they provided me. I am a lucky one. Although I feel too young to be without them, I realize there are many others who lose their mother’s as a young child, teenager or young adult. Those individuals do not have the luxury of the years that I did.
The reality is, there is never an appropriate age to lose your mother. We always want and miss them.
It is important to recognize that the day may be difficult. I will likely never attend church on Mother’s Day as most churches do not handle the day well for those who are grieving because of the loss of their mother, their own child or infertility. I continue to be undecided if I will visit my Mom and Grandmother’s graves. I am not one who feels the need to visit but also struggle with societal expectations that I should at least do something in memory. In time, just as I have learned with the death of my father, these holidays will not be as painful. Although grief is life long, there is an ebb and flow to the journey.
I am and have become more comfortable with my grief, as I knew that I would.
Although two years feels equally short and long, I have finally begun to develop new routines in my life without these wonderful women. I have also been given the gift of older women, who could never replace but who have become mentors and more than just friends. I have been blessed with those who I could call for advice and at times simply validation. They have become tangible mother figures and I am forever grateful.
I will never be motherless, for I was loved, molded and guided by two beautiful women. I may be unable to no longer hear their teachings but I continue to feel their presence.