Surviving Mother’s Day Without My Mother

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Sometimes we can feel sadness in a place that even our spouse’s love can’t reach. Today I ached there. I lost my mother to breast cancer when I was only nine years old. I’ve had 19 Mother’s Days since to learn how to survive the day for Mom’s without having mine there to celebrate with, but even still some years it’s much harder than others.

Sometimes I can block out the pain and just push through the day as if it weren’t a holiday at all, but others I wake up feeling like that gaping hole in my heart that her death left is just exposed and bleeding and may never heal. This morning I woke up feeling that way. My husband knew something was up with me when I wouldn’t get out of bed. It’s not like me not to want to jump up and enjoy a beautiful spring day. I wasn’t sleeping; I was just laying there feeling a familiar pain that I often try so hard to forget. I thought about getting up quite a few times before I finally rose at 1pm, but each time I thought to myself, what’s the rush? Today’s going to be tough so why even get up at all? Most times these feelings are foreign to an optimist like me. Even on the worst of days I always believe it’s best to get up and face the music rather than to just lay down and accept defeat. But not today. Not this Mother’s Day.

Mother's Day losing your mother mom and daughter photo

I felt doomed to succumb to the emotions of the day before I’d even gotten up to face them. Once he realized this wasn’t going to be one of those Mother’s Days when I was at my strongest, The Man tried all his usual tricks to lift my spirits. He went and got me my favorite breakfast, but I couldn’t eat it. He turned on an episode of my favorite show, but I just pressed mute and rolled back over. He got into bed with me for awhile and stroked my head and told me it was going to be okay, but I just laid there in some distant place far from that room as I listened to his words but felt nothing. I don’t know why or how I finally got up this afternoon but I did. Maybe it’s because I knew there were other special mothers in my life that I needed to show love and gratitude to? Or maybe even in my saddest hours I know better than to just lay there all day and feel sorry for myself. Either way I managed to make it onto my feet and begin to search for memories that would help me get through the day rather than make me suffer through it. I found some. One of them is this photo. It’s one of the few I have of my mother and I together and although I don’t remember the moment we took it firsthand I do remember the many moments of comfort it has brought me since her death. I look at this picture and I feel her love. I love how she’s looking at me and the expression on her face. I love how happy I look in her arms and I love that her pride in me shines right through this old beaten up photo.

I think this photo was what brought me back to a happier less painful place today. It wasn’t my husband’s love and support (though he gave it his best shot and I thank him tremendously for it), or my father’s company (he’s always been there for me no matter what), it was just staring at this photo in my hands. Sometimes when we’re trying to swallow and digest extreme amounts of emotional pain, just a dose of a special moment can be all it takes to feel better. If we let it, of course. Whether your mother is here today to celebrate with you or gone on to a better place, please know that her love and her pride in you surround you always. Happy Mother’s Day everyone.

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24 Responses to Surviving Mother’s Day Without My Mother

  1. Alexis says:

    As I read your post my eyes filled with tears. I don’t know how it would feel not to have my mom. But knowing you for almost 4 years I think you are exactly who your mother would have wanted you to be and more! Xoxo love u to life

  2. LionGIrl says:

    Sorry for your loss in such a young age, Guess saying "seize the day", "live for the living" n "rejoice on fond memories" will not work here. Honestly, we are only human to feel down sometimes. Love that pic! You were such a happy sweet looking gal in your mum's arms. I do try to remember some good times with my mum but not all are happy ones. Not that I do not want to spend more time with her (she is still alive), but sometimes some feelings of the past and present do not make us comfortable to be in each other's company. I know I will miss her one day when she is gone but as of now, she is happy with her life to miss me much….
    My recent post Happy Mothers Day

  3. SupaSoulSista says:

    I'm TOTALLY proud of you and your ability to find strength to be transparent & write this piece. This piece WILL provide something for those are not able to celebrate with their mothers, but will allow their voices/spirits to be heard. XOXOXO ~Love you cousin, Sher

    P.S. I will somehow post on my site.

  4. I'm TOTALLY proud of you and your ability to find strength, be transparent /honest & write this piece. This piece WILL provide something for those are not able to celebrate with their mothers, but will allow their voices/spirits to be heard. XOXOXO

    ~Love you cousin, Sher

    P.S. Her spirit lives in you…ask me how I know? You ARE a prolific writer. This piece is poignant and will touch hearts of many, who are bombarded with a 1 sided Mother's Day holiday.

  5. I am really sorry for your loss. I hope people were all as sensitive and loving as your husband, even if you couldn't quite accept it today.
    My recent post Kitsch-en Window

  6. kita says:

    I know how you feel and it’s a pain that is unspeakable. I am just now coming from my dark place that I have been in. My mom passed christmas of 07 and it’s not easy. I never knew the pain others felt when I said “sorry for your lost” until I lost. Strangers have helped me more than friends and family get over the death of my mom but her memory still lives on. The only thing that gets me through is knowing that I did not want her to be in pain anymore from the chemo and tiredness of this world. As the years go buy each year I try to think of a happy thought about my mom and I cherish it until this time next year.

  7. Mimi says:

    As if I hadn't shed enough tears this week..I cry reading this. My mother as well has gone on to a better place. I long for the days to lay in bed and cry my eyes out but my busy life won't let me. I sometimes wish I could but I'm not sure it would make it better. That hole is one that will always be there. I gathered strength from this, a strength deep down that there are other women that I have come across that have walked this often times lonely walk. People who understand how lonely this place can be at times. Not sure what exactly it is that you wrote that made me cry and end with a smile but I thank you for it. I needed it. *hugs*
    My recent post I’ll Alway Love My Mama…Happy Mother’s Day!!!

  8. Attorney2be says:

    This was very touching. I’m so sorry you lost your mother. Your husband sounds amazing. Thanks for sharing. Stay strong and be blessed.

  9. anointedsop says:

    I tried to hold back the tears in church today as they celebrated mothers – one or 2 tears got away while I hoped no one was looking – Keep writing to the Glory of God and your mother!!

  10. Mrs_Mommy_MD says:

    I was thinking today about how it must be for all of the people who may have lost their mothers. You are so strong and brave for writing this post about something so personal. Thinking of you and I hope that God gives you peace on days like these…
    My recent post Happy Mothers Day!

  11. ames says:

    My grandmother’s mother died when my grandmother was maybe 10. My grandmother told me so many stories of her mother that I feel like I know her. At 70+ my grandmother still missed her mother.

    Keep telling stories of your memories. It keeps your loved one close to you. Folks think some of my relatives are alive I talk about them so much. People may have never met your mother but they are still interested in knowing who she was to you.

  12. Lauren says:

    Once again you inspire me! I'm glad to be your friend and know there is a deeper level of strength and love that you possess. You are so loved, never forget that. Your angel watches over you, believe that!

  13. I lost my mom 3 years ago, and some days I still wake up and I think "I'm going to call mom." Then I remember that she's no longer here. I remember those first days after she died, I couldn't believe that she was no longer in this world. I kept wondering how the world could keep going when she was no longer around.
    I miss my mom terribly, and I lost her when I was already a grown-up, I can't even imagine how painful it must have been and still is for you to have lost her at such a young age. My thoughts are with you.
    Thank you for this beautiful post.
    My recent post 5 Dangers Of Blogging

    • ManWifeDog says:

      Sorry for your loss. After my grandmother succumbed to breast cancer I used to just wake up and dial her number and it wouldn't be until my uncle answered that I realized she was really gone. I did that for years after. I kept thinking, what the heck is wrong with me? But it's normal. I know that now.

  14. Ginny Marie says:

    What a gorgeous picture! You are right…the pride in your mom's eyes shines through!

    I lost my mom to breast cancer too. Mother's Day is definitely difficult for those of us who have lost our mothers; what a blessing you have in that man who understands you!
    My recent post An Open Letter to My Blog

    • ManWifeDog says:

      Thanks Ginny! I'm so sorry for your loss too. I get your pain and in some ways it's comforting to know that we're not alone in these feelings of such tremendous and untimely loss. I sure hate cancer. That being said, you're right my husband is certainly my rock and I'm thankful for him every single day. Even when I want to choke him. (smiles)

  15. Untypically Jia says:

    I know how you feel chica. Mother's Day is a constant reminder of what's missing. What I should be celebrating. I can only hope it gets better. Some years are easier than others. But then sometimes I get stuck. I agree with everyone else . . . that picture is just precious. I love pictures of my Mom. Wonderful reminders.
    My recent post Once Upon a Time

  16. The Student says:

    My hubby lost his mother when he was 9 years old to cancer as well. I think he likes to pretend that Mother's Day isn't even happening. For several years he used to do the same thing with Christmas too. I don't think its healthy the way he deals with it, but I try my best to let him grieve the way he has to grieve for himself. I don't think it will ever be easy Charli, but I hope you can find some comfort. I'm glad to hear your hubby was there to help your through it. See…this is what marriage is about. Sometimes for better, for worse doesn't have anything to do with marital issues. It can be about supporting our spouse when they are personally going through a for better, for worse situation. Sending you big hugs and lots of love!
    My recent post Just Don’t Get Married!

    • ManWifeDog says:

      I'm so sorry for his loss. I too feel the pain on other holidays as well. Valentine's Day is when she died so that one's tough too. "It can be about supporting our spouse when they are personally going through a for better, for worse situation." SO TRUE! Thank you Jocelyn. HUGE hugs right back at you honey. I needed that e-love and I appreciate it so much!

  17. I'm so sorry I've left a rash of comments all at once. I had a super busy week and got behind on my reading. I just now saw this. I am so sorry about the loss of your mom so early in your life. I loved the pic you shared. And the fact you shared this at all. They're late, but sending you virtual hugs. Hope you made it through the day okay.

  18. Yes! Girl this post touched my heart. I also lost my mom young so I can DEFinitely empathize with you… It's difficult but the most important thing to remember is that grief, from the loss of a loved one, takes ppl "out of the game" of life daily. They seemingly cease to exist because, sadly, they can't find a way to cope with the loss. You're still standing.. and a bonafide success! Your mother would be proud I'm sure… ~Tiff

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