This is my twentieth mothers’ day without my mom. That seems like a really long time.
Does it actually ever get easier? Yes, and no.
I got more used to the idea over time, but some years it’s really hard… especially those years with big changes, like 2 years ago when I became a mother myself.
In some ways that was helpful. I am now a mother and I’m married to another mother, so I have PLENTY to celebrate on this day: my daughter, my wife, my becoming a mother… but it also made me more acutely aware of my loss and the milestones I didn’t/don’t get to share.
My mom would have adored her granddaughter. It’s hard not to adore her granddaughter (I’m totally biased). But this isn’t really about my loss as an individual, this is for my motherless sisters and brothers who don’t have any reason to celebrate. This is for those of you just white knuckling your way through the onslaught of marketing. (And yeah, it’s for my fellow mothers and spouses of mothers who have that new, acute awareness I was just talking about too)
I may not know you, you might not have any idea who I am… that’s okay. I know this: I am proud of you.
How can I be proud of you if I don’t know you? Because I know: being motherless on Mothers’ Day is hard. Being motherless any day is hard. It can be your first Mothers’ Day without her or your twentieth, it’s still hard. And you are getting through and doing it without the support of your mother.
You could have had a great, close relationship with your mom, or a shitty horrible one: either way (or some way in between): this holiday stirs that shit up and it’s HARD. I know it can be hard for people with living mothers too… sometimes even harder depending on the mom I totally acknowledge that. This is a letter to my fellow orphans, or half orphans, or whatever label you feel fits.
So, I can’t fix that it’s hard and I can’t replace your mom. But I am A MOM and I am proud of you and I’d love you to do something for me if you can… If you are up for it…
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF THIS MOTHERS’ DAY.
Do all the things we are taught to do for moms:
Sleep in, feed yourself a delicious breakfast, buy yourself your favorite flowers, go for a walk… SIT IN A DARK ROOM AND CRY. Yeah, mourning is totally self care. If you wanna get mad and hit a punching bag, scream into the nearest canyon on a hike, or cry into your bubble bath: You do that and you REVEL IN IT. Do it to the fullness that you can. Do it to make your mom proud… either the real mom you lost or the mom you wish you’d had and never experienced because of hand life dealt you.
I’m not here to romanticize the mom you lost. I don’t know her. You don’t know me. But if she was great, or even if she wasn’t, but you feel the need: do something to honor her. Post your favorite photo of her on social media, buy her favorite flowers, pour one out for her (in my mom’s case that would be either a bottle of Clearly Canadian or a Cherry Coke… hi, 1997) make her a piece of art or write a poem, put it next to a candle and meditate on some of your favorite memories, or funny moments, or times she super pissed you off. This is YOUR day, you do what you want.
Yes, it’s your day. Forget the marketing and what everyone else is doing and make this day about you. Even if that means doing something to distract you the whole days so you don’t think about it. Whatever you do, no matter what, just know there is a mom out there who knows how you feel and she’s super proud of you.
(If you really need to feel that a little extra you can always tweet me and let me know what you did. I’d be honored)