Mother’s Day 2010-Another Motherless Mother’s Day

WARNING THIS IS NOT A POLITICAL POST. IT IS A MOTHER’S DAY POST.

Missing My Mother…Grief does Not Stop at the Graveyard

 My mother died almost 30 years ago.   She was so young that I can not imagine what she would be like now.  She was just a few years older than I am now. It is even more difficult to believe that I have lived more of my life without her than with her. My mother and I had a very close relationship. I was not a rebellious child so the conflicts we had were very minimal, but I now wonder what she would think about the life choices I have made. I now grieve for what never was. She was not here to help me plan my wedding or even meet my future mate. She missed the birth and growth of my children and I missed having her here to guide me through the mind fields of motherhood. As a young woman I was unprepared for my mother’s death. Most people see the tragedy in young children losing their mother, but once you cross the threshold of adulthood people believe you are able to cope with the loss. Yes, you do remain functional you are no longer wailing and lamenting at the loss of your mother, but there is an incredible void that simply can not be filled. During the initial mourning period I remember people mouthing all the usual platitudes: “I’m as close as the phone”, “call me if you need anything” or the worst “I know how you feel”, and let us not forget “she is in a better place.” What??? Well I want her right here with me.  I wanted to scream “why don’t you call me. I’m the one that lost my mother” or “no you don’t know how I feel”, but instead I smiled and nodded as they said the things they thought would make me feel better. What I have learned is you never get over the death of your mother, but you do get on with life, but your life will forever be divided into before my mother died and after my mother died. My father died 4 years before my mother died and while I mourned his death it was a different kind of loss. I still had my mother to help me through the loss of my father, and I remember even then saying I miss my dad, but I knew I could not live without my mother, but that too was simply untrue. After my mother died I remember losing my sense of compassion. When other people would lose their mothers I would be sorry for their loss but there was also a dark part of me that would be saying welcome to the club.   I think there were two people who kept me sane during the dark period, my best friend Stephanie and my Aunt Bernie. Stephanie lost her mother the year after I did so we could share thoughts with each other without fear of judgment, and my aunt provided a listening ear in the midnight hours when I simply needed to ask again and again “why?” What I didn’t think I understood then or now how the grief never goes away. Your happiest moments are always tempered with grief.  I remember redecorating my bedroom the year after she died and being so happy with the outcome, but a part of me was sad that I was happy. On my wedding day I remember waking up at 2AM to a tear-stained pillowcase because she would not be there to share the day with me. I miss the fact that she was never allowed the privilege to be a grandmother. She always loved kids and she would have had such a good time spoiling mine. My mother was the person in my life that saw me through a non-judgmental prism. Is my story unique? Probably not but it is not the kind of story that people are not comfortable sharing aloud or hearing. One thing you find when you lose a mother and you try to talk about with people who still have theirs they don’t want to hear it. As we age the death of parents becomes a common occurrence but when you are young and most of your friends and family members still have theirs you will find that it is a lonely road.  One of the saddest aspects of her death is not being able to make her real to my children. They don’t miss having a maternal grandmother because they never had one. You can’t miss what you never had. I share stories with them but it is like I’m reading a fairytale to them. In the early eighties we were not blessed with the kind of technology we now take for granted. We didn’t have video cameras or camera phones to help keep our memories alive. I have pictures, but the one dimensional version of my mother is insufficient to express who she really was. A picture can not capture the generous spirit that radiated behind the loving smile. In this post mom period of my life I have been able to surround myself with people who love me. I have a husband who has learned to recognize the sadness, but he knows when I want to talk or when I need to walk through it by myself. I have smiled as I see some of the traits of my mother in my children. My children share her loving spirit. My mother was one of the kindest people you would ever meet, but when you pushed her you did so at your own peril. I now can help someone who has lost a mother walk through the pain. Instead of saying “I know how you feel.” I say “I know how it feels to lose a mother.” It has taken me almost 30 years, but I can now be happy with no reservations. I can now rest assured that she is in a better place, but it took decades for me to get to this space. So on this Mother’s Day I can smile at her memory, and also smile because I do know that I have grown into the woman she prayed I would become.

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Comments

  • Kelly  On May 9, 2010 at 10:13 am

    This was so beautifully written and I have a lump in my throat. Ms. Ebony, thank you so much for sharing this. I can say in the little time I’ve “known” you via this blog, I can honesty say you did your Mother (and Father) proud.

  • penny wize  On May 10, 2010 at 2:07 am

    “So on this Mother’s Day I can smile at her memory, and also smile because I do know that I have grown into the woman she prayed I would become.”

    Simply beautiful.

  • walknrun1  On May 13, 2010 at 7:23 pm

    Beautifully said…and belated Happy Mother’s Day. Since losing my mother almost 14 years ago I, too, offer up “I know how it feels to lose a mother,” because no one knows exactly how another feels. We all grievee in different ways.

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