Sunday, May 12, 2013

For My Mother on Mother's Day

As a woman, I have found that losing my mother is to have lost a part of myself. As mothers we are forever and irrevocably attached innately; mentally and spiritually, to our children as we were once physically when we carried them within our bodies.

Losing my mother has left a hole inside myself, a deep chasm that I know will never be filled, but that I also know, my mother spent the thirty one years of my life as her daughter giving me the memories, the moments, the strength and love to fill to over-flowing.  It’s an odd feeling of emptiness where there is also abundance. The emptiness is a human and earthly selfishness of yearning for a physical presence. The abundance is in that she is not gone. She is every where; in me, my life, my husband, my girls… just simply not in this earthly and human sense that I wish.

“All my plans have fallen through.
All my plans depend on you
Depend on you to help them grow
I love you, and that's all I know

When the singer's gone
Let the song go on...

But the ending always comes at last
Endings always come too fast
They come too fast, but they pass too slow
I love you, and that's all I know.”
-“All I Know” (Art Garfunkel)

With Mother’s Day approaching, my mom has been on my mind more than ever. I’ve been preparing for despair, angst and new waves of grief to consume me with the crushing sadness of the reality that she is no longer with us.  I won’t be calling her to wish her a Happy Mother’s Day, to thank her for picking me to be her daughter,for being the most wonderful mother a person could ever dream of. I won’t be sending a card and I won’t be receiving one from her, either. And I have been reminded of those facts with every trip to the store, every time I turn on theTV and to wonderful strangers who cheerfully wish me a Happy Mother’s Day, unaware of my reality. 

The amazing thing though? My mom has been on my mind and inmy heart every minute of every day… and I have smiled, laughed and felt happiness more than I’ve succumbed to the despair and the grief of losing her. She was the best person in the world. She was quirky. She was brilliant. She was loving. She was strong. She was creative.

My mom.
My teacher.
My soul mate.
My friend.
My strength.
My courage.

Some of the things that had my smiling with happy tears and laughter this week:
  • She could never pronounce the word similar correctly. It was always “sih-meal-year.” This was usually met with me loudly correcting her and laughing while she joined in.
  • She had a Masters in Education and Technology, but she called me with every technological question you could imagine. My favorite was the time where she called me to ask me why her pictures from her phone weren’t transferring to her computer when she plugged it in, only to realize that she had unplugged the phone to call me and that was why. There were also calls where she threatened to throw her iPad, her kindle fire and latest smart phone out the window. I always knew when she had some new toy because I would get calls at least hourly for the next week.
  • She would surprise me with gifts, usually new clothes, by laying them out on my bed to see when I got home from school from as early as I can remember until the day I moved out.  Those days were always the best days and she always made me excited and glad to be home, even without surprise gifts.
  • She was a singer.  I can still hear her in my head singing “Please Come to Boston” and “For No One” with Aunt Amy and the joy in her face when she got to indulge in that gift and love.
  • She drew eyeballs on everything… absolutely everything.  She also doodled leaves, vines and flowers.
  • My mom always encouraged me to overcome my shyness and uncertainty about new things and experiences, always pushing me to partake and put myself out there. She had an uncanny ability to know I would love something if I just pushed through my insecurities and did it. That I wouldn’t want to stop doing it once I started. I owe her for making sure that I had many of the best and my favorite experiences of life because she encouraged me to just go for it, at least once.
  • Every time I made or got myself food I would ask her if she wanted some as well. Usually she would say no, she wasn’t hungry. Without fail, the minute I would sit down with my french fries, pasta etc, she would give me what I later would call “the eye” and ask for a bite.  This bite would lead to her eating about half of what I had gotten for myself. I learned to get food for me and extra for her. I always jokingly complained, but I didn’t mind. It was just oneof those things that made mom, mom.
  • She engrained the dangers of damaging hair using curling irons, hot rollers, and straightening irons in Roslyn’s head to the point where Roslyn still lectures me about it.  The thing Grandma Linda failed to mention to Roslyn? She curled my hair with hot rollers and/or curling iron, krimper, etc at least 6 days a week for my entire childhood. Hmmmmm.
  • She was spontaneous. She would wake up one day and declare that we were heading out of town to Jerome for the day or trying something completely new. She gave me my first adventures and a love of continuing to have adventures throughout my life.
These are just a few of things that I will never forget and will always leave me smiling. I’m writing them all down as I think of them so that I can pass them along to her treasures, Roslyn and Vivi… knowing that it is through me that they will know her best of all.

She is still with me everywhere… a special song that plays out of the blue, a wiff of Angel perfume, a catch of my reflection where I can see her clearly, a sudden peaceful calm and the beauty of every day.  I see her most especially in my girls…Roslyn with her wisdom, confidence and dedication in everything that she does; and in Vivi in her bright eyes always searching for something new to understand and love and her ability, at just 18 months, to speak for herself and her needs in her own way.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. I love you, I cherish you, I am grateful for you and I miss you with everything that I am. Because of you, I am me. Because of you I am the kind of mother that I am proud to be. Thank you for everything, always.

“When the singer's gone let the song go on
It's a fine line between the darkness and the dawn
They say the darkest night
There's a light beyond…”
-“All I Know” (Art Garfunkel)

“Everything I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.” 
–Abraham Lincoln