In April of 2013, my mother passed away from Stage Four Metastasis Breast Cancer and I carry that with me everywhere I go. Her birthday falls in May along with Mother’s Day, so every year for the last 5 years the spring season has been difficult for me; it’s a mixture of extremely bitter with a hint of sweet. It’s sweet because my mother’s favorite season was spring and I love it, too – especially when the flowers begin to bloom and the smell of fresh grass in the air becomes a part of every morning.
For the most part, life has become its own version of normal again, but I am still coping with it. I’d be lying if I pretended to have the perfect words to say to anyone who happens to be in a similar position. It isn’t easy, especially in this age of technology. It’s very difficult scrolling through your phone on Mother’s Day and seeing the brunches and dinners, the love and appreciation expressed by children all over, for their mothers. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a beautiful day dedicated to your creator, your first home, your first love, but when she’s no longer here to share it with, it’s just… hard. It’s hard and I am not in a place where it feels like anything less than that. However, in the 4 years (going on 5) that I’ve spent Mother’s Day motherless, I’ve learned a few ways to cope for when the day gets blue. So, if you happen to be in a similar situation as me on this day, here are some things that I turn to to help get me through:
- Watch movies that you and your mom used to watch together. It could be any movie. Good or bad. I like to watch the ones that we thought sucked, because they always made us laugh the hardest.
- Try to surround yourself with other loved ones. My aunts come to my house every Mother’s Day to offer comfort to me and my sister. They even used to come during the time my mother was alive and sick. We would eat dinner and just talk. It helped then and it really helps now.
- Do other things that you and your mom used to like to do. My mother loved gardening and being outside. On Mother’s Day, I try to spend some time in my backyard (if the weather permits it) and tend to the garden more than I would on a regular day. Sometimes, I just sit back there and listen to music.
- Find a creative way to help you express how you feel about the day, whether you’re feeling good or bad. I love to write. Writing is how I express myself, period. I write when I’m happy, sad, angry, excited – any emotion that I am experiencing goes on paper. On my second motherless Mother’s Day, I decided to start writing letters to my mom to let her know exactly how much I miss her. Here is my letter for this year:
A Letter to Mom
This will be my fifth Mother’s Day without you. For five years it seems as if the skies are no longer blue. I thought with time, the pain would subside but it seems that with time the pain has only amplified.
Once on Grey’s Anatomy, I heard one of the characters say, “I don’t know how to live in a world where my dad doesn’t.” I knew right away that I would share this sentiment when I found out it was likely you couldn’t stay.
Mom, words can’t explain how I miss you. I’m often surprised that I’ve survived this long. Surprised at how I’ve been this “strong” without your love to see me through. I try hard to think about what your voice sounded like or how you looked before becoming sick.
It’s becoming harder. The things I thought I’d never forget along with the words that have gone unsaid, leave my mind and body riddled with regret.
Mom, don’t read this and make the mistake of thinking I haven’t come a long way. I just thought I’d try to find the words that will help convey, the feelings I feel on Mother’s Day.