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.
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.