Since my Mom passed away eight years ago today, Mothers Day has been difficult to the say the least. The first Mothers Day after Mom died, was more than painful falling the day after we buried her in a torrential spring storm – a bona fide New England Nor’easter complete with strong winds, rain cascading from the skies as if to wash away our tears, and flooding that prevented us from holding her services graveside.
If it is true that the first set of holidays after a loved one passes is the most difficult then that first Mothers Day was especially difficult. My childhood home that had no less than 24 hours before been filled with the sounds of people – family and friends – was excruciatingly quiet. The walls seemed to ooze with the heaviness of our grief. I was alone in the house that seemed emptier than I’d ever known it to be. This simple ranch where my parents had raised four daughters was never quiet. My parents built the house on a plot of land that three generations of my mother’s family prior to my generation had gathered for family events and gatherings and it had never known so much quiet. But that day, my three sisters were each with their families and I had sent my other half off to be with his mother; assuring both of them that if I felt like I needed company I would join them. One of my best friends invited me to join her and her family that day; which would have been perfectly comfortable as her parents were like mine. We all knew, however, that I would stay where I felt I should be holding vigil in my mother’s house.
In the Mothers Days that have followed, I have learned that is best that I stay away from places where mothers and daughters gather such as nail salons, malls, and restaurants during the days around Mothering Sunday. It is in everyone’s best interest that I am not in a place where daughters might argue with their mothers. The week before the second Mothers Day after my Mom’s death, I had to abruptly leave a Marshalls store near my house. A mother was telling her daughter to try something on that the daughter who was about my age did not want to try on. The daughter was being as rude as the mother was being stubborn. I wanted to say, “Just try it on and you can laugh at how ugly it looks on you,” but instead I blurted out, “Don’t be so mean to your mother, you are lucky she is still alive.” I dropped the items I had in my hands and darted out of the store before either the mother or daughter could react. My girlfriends who have also lost their mothers have all had similar experiences, so we motherless daughters do our best to avoid the mall in early May.
My new normal Mothers Day has been to call the people I need to acknowledge and then do my best to pretend that it is just another Sunday. Mothers Day is one of the days that I feel her loss more intensely. This year I have been feeling like I should step out of the safety of my comfort zone and do something – perhaps visit my mother’s grave although mom would prefer I give the flowers to someone living to enjoy like someone in a nursing home who doesn’t get visitors or invite my aunt to dinner because that’s what my Mom would do if she was still alive. I make no promises except that I will do whatever feels right to me even if that means staying home waiting for Monday to come once again.