No mother this Mother’s Day
This is my first Mother’s Day without my Mother. It feels strange to type those words. Even stranger to realize the truth of them.
When you become a “grownup,” especially an older one, you have an intellectual knowing that your parents aren’t going to be with you forever. It’s a truth that kinda floats around in the back of your awareness as you see them getting older.
However, when that intellectual knowing becomes reality, it’s an experience that is hard to describe. You feel this hole in your life that you understand will always be there.
I felt that with my Daddy, but when your Mother leaves you, you really feel like a lost child. Mother was the anchor that held it all together for our family after Daddy died. She was the sure thing, the person there when I needed to hear a reassuring voice from childhood.
Sometimes I forget that I can’t still pick up the phone and call her. So many times something happens or I think about something I’d like to tell her. Before my brain registers that a call is not possible, I’ll reach for the phone.
The other day I had one of those moments and I replayed an old cell phone call that has her voice on it. She accidentally recorded it when she was talking with one of my sisters. Mother never quite mastered all the ins and outs of her cell phone.
After she died, my sister discovered the recording and shared it with us. I listened to her voice and I smiled hearing one of her standard lines.
“I didn’t want anything.”
Oh, to be able to have her call me not wanting anything but to talk about the storyline in our shared soap opera. Or to tell me about the antics of her cat. I so loved her cat stories.
The other day I was in her empty house for a bit. I can’t begin to put into words how it feels to stand in the breakfast room and look down the long hall toward her bedroom.
Part of me half expected her to come walking up the hall asking me if I wanted some coffee. That’s how much her presence is still around when I’m there.
I walked to the bottom of the stairs and saw her favorite jacket hanging on the hook where she left it. The smell of Mother was there and I buried my face in it.
“I miss you,” I whispered.
And miss does not quite fit the feeling. It is more than missing. There is a bit of me, a piece of my history, gone now. It left with her last breath.
Of course, in my head I know that as long as I am here, my parents are not gone. They live in my memories and breathe in my DNA. However, in my heart, in that place where I’m still a child, the orphan longs for the comforting hug of her mother.
Last year, one of the gifts that I gave Mother for Mother’s Day was a cherry tomato plant. I did that for several years because she enjoyed watching it grow and always shared some of her harvest with me.
This year, there is no need to shop for a gift, no reason to buy that tomato plant. Although I am tempted to buy one anyway to feel connected to her when that harvest comes in later in the summer.
There is a part of me that knows how very lucky I was to have my Mother with me for so many years. She was almost 95 when she left us. Another part of me, says it was not nearly enough time.
This is my first Mother’s Day without my Mother. Yes, it feels strange to wrap my head around the truth of those words.
So, I’m holding tight to the last words my Mother said to me.
“I love you.”
Mother, I love you, too. Forever.