This past Sunday I felt more like a daughter than a mother. And when I looked at my husband, he didn’t look like a father; he looked like a son. We were two kids without a mother on Mother’s Day.
(Yep, I’m setting this one up to be a real comedy hour, I know. But I will get to the silver lining, I promise.)
So, on this day that has come to feel like “National You-Don’t-Have-a-Mom Awareness Day,” we opt to get outside. We hit the trails and stay away from social media at all costs. There is too much temptation for self-pity or bitterness. It’s not like we wish nobody had a mother. It is just better not to see it paraded around in filtered family portraits and montages.
This being my first year without Mom, even though mentally she had been gone for years, it was a soul crusher. I will admit, I ran crying from Trader Joe’s. I just wanted my groceries and every single display was for or about mothers. Use these strawberries to make summer parfaits FOR YOUR MOM. Show your love and appreciation FOR YOUR MOTHER with our new cauliflower gnocchi. Can we just get real? Nobody wants cauliflower gnocchi, yet I bought a bag before fleeing the store. Tonight we eat gnocchi. But on that day, there was no escaping my impending sadness.
I have written before about the word mother being both a noun and a verb. This weekend my husband and I were inundated with reminders that we were missing the nouns in our lives. We are all out of mothers around here. We are not, however, missing the verb.
Love and nurturing came at us from every direction. Words are my balm, and my friends showed up to layer them on thick. I received hand-written notes, texts and cards reminding me that I am more than just a daughter without a mother. I am also a mom, even if it doesn’t always feel that way.
My best friend listed all the ways my mom would be proud of me. My soul sister checked in on me every four hours. Another good friend and fellow writer wrote a list of thank yous she would offer to my mother if she could meet her. Members of my tribe gathered around me to extend strength and support after we finished a workout. A dear family friend left a handwritten note in my purse acknowledging my heartache and thanking me for my openness. The list goes on and on.
I am not sure what I did to deserve such kindness, but I am deeply grateful. I know that Mom is thrilled to know that in her absence I have felt her mothering through the love of so many people. I can also speak for Jane when I say she would be ecstatic to see the love for her son that has grown and multiplied in her absence.
This light is my silver lining. Nobody offered a spell to cease our pain or reverse the loss, but they extended kindness. Holidays can be tough for many people for various reasons. As for my family, I am grateful that through our loss, we have become more aware. I have also learned first hand the power of verbal affirmation and a kind word. My mom had the gift of encouragement. I hope to offer the world just a fraction of the light and love she shared in her time on this Earth.
Thank you to everyone who lifted us up this weekend. It was truly a day full of mothering.