Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Motherless child

May is a hard time for me.  Mother's Day rolls around and I'm a bit twitchy, there is a definite edge in the air. Even though the torch has been passed to me in celebrating the day, it always goes back to my own Mother. How could it not?  Like the nightlight we forget to turn off in the morning, she's always there in the background.

I lost my Mother 13 years ago to cancer.  Lost is such a funny word in describing death don't you think? Like she went into the grocery store with me and just wandered off.  With so many years passed and so much having happened in those years it feels like my life is truncated into two parts: my childhood with her and the beginning of my adult life.  That's a really strange compartment.  Comparable to playing in the sand one minute to having a house on it the next.

She missed so much.  She will never know my husband,  the man who transformed the way I love.  She will never look into my children's eyes.  She will never see them come into the world, never hold them, never comb their hair.   Never be part of any Christmas or Birthday, never again ring in the new year.  She will not see the radiant smiles walking down the aisle, not laugh at the antics of my Dad.  All this I know.  I wear the finality of it like a coat.  There is nothing to be done with it but sit with it and invite it to the table; less painful than having it linger by the door.

I feel less alone now than when my kids were babies.  So many nights wondering: is this normal? /did I ever have a rash like that?/was she as exhausted-elated-exhausted as I am?  I'd watch my friends Mum's with that look in their eyes- bottomless love, enchantment, that buffer; how they would relish their time; the tender lessons only a Grandmother can teach.
I could do many things but I could not trace her footprint in their lives.

I'll say it.  I'll say it out loud.  I felt cheated.

Gradually though and with much inner destruction, I realized not all paths were meant to be ours.

The ouch of it all did ease with my husband's Mother.  She was not my Mom but she loves her Grandkids. My heart melts every time she plays Crazy eights with them.  Isn't that funny?  Crazy eights.  Who knew that would be what dulls the ache.  My kids are surrounded by people who love them.  My Dad's wife dotes on them like they were her very own.  It's enough.  We all pretend it fills the cup that is cracked.  We put napkins on the floor to cover the drip.  It's enough.

So now May comes around and I garden.  I dig and plant and arrange and concentrate.   I clean my house. I fold my laundry.  I write.  I smile during the Spring tea's at school and love my homemade cards.  And every year I silently say the only prayer I can muster; Happy Mother's day Mom.


  1. Your strength and courage amaze me, my dear friend. Your mama raised a Wonderful person...her legacy you carry on so very well. Love to you sister. x amy

  2. You are such a wonderful friend! I know my Mom would have loved to see the amazing woman and Mother that you are Amy! XOXOXOXOXOX

  3. I can tell you that the empty places never fill with anything more than cobwebs and wonder. Wonder about what might have been, and wonder about what never was.

    As you may remember, I lost my father to a senseless murder in 1983. I still feel his loss.

    But if you're lucky, and you have the patience, you'll see her again reflected in the children you have and the life you lead.

    Take heart, eventually the pain fades and the loss ... though always there ... becomes bearable. It's hard for me to imagine that my father has been dead for almost 30 years. And that dark place is still here, but I don't visit the emptiness very often anymore. I believe he would want it that way.

    Your friend,


  4. Thank you Matt for your kind words- you have wonderful insights! I believe your Dad would be very proud of who you are.