Surviving Mother's Day One Breath at a Time

A bunch of red tissue paper broken hearts
A bunch of red tissue paper broken hearts

Mother's Day. Those two words, once brought memories of cards and flowers, crabs and beer. Family gathered together to celebrate motherhood. Three generations laughing and loving. Sharing the memories of childhood, teen years that became adult years that changed women into mothers. Every year we gathered together at my house. Grandmothers, Aunts, Mother in Law, sons and daughter. To celebrate family and love. This year Mother's Day grabs my heart and shatters it like glass. Broken in too many pieces to ever be repaired. Our family forever changed by addiction.

My youngest son gone forever. His demons more powerful than a mother's love. A family broken. A mother broken. Thinking of this once special day brings me to my knees. The gut punches become relentless taking my breath away in sobs that I can no longer control.

How does a grieving mother survive a holiday in her honor? There are no Hallmark cards dealing with moms like me. There is nothing happy about Mother's Day for this mother. Yet, I still have my mother, sister and daughter in law, all mothers whose children live. How do I explain that all I want to do is close my eyes and wish I would disappear? How do I make them understand that my heart has shut down to protect my sanity and Mother's Day is now a day I want to forget? Now along with grief I have guilt. Mother's Day has always been my holiday to do for everyone. I do the food and drink. Buy the flowers. Transforming my gardens into the peaceful place for all the mothers to relax and enjoy.

Mother's Day once a holiday I loved is now a day I will dread forever. Most of my friends are mothers with living children. Now rather than sharing their joy of our day, I'm jealous that their children are here and mine is not. Guilt again. How can I feel this way. What kind of mother is jealous that another mother's child is alive? Grief has changed this mother. Most days I wake and the tears fall as reality creeps into my sleeping brain. He is gone my mind says and the pain of my life begins again. I have enough trouble trying to get through a normal day, how will I ever make it through Mother's Day?

Recently a very wise mom, a mom like myself gave me some incredible advice. Imagine you are on a plane. The oxygen masks drop down. Save yourself first she said. Place the mask on your face and breathe. Keep breathing and take care of yourself before you take care of others. This Mother's Day I will be on that plane and I will take care of myself one breath at a time. 💔