May 15, 2008-
This past weekend was Mother's Day. And as you may or not be aware, my mother died very suddenly and unexpectedly just shy of two years ago. It was without a doubt the single most defining time of my life. My mother, as with many mothers, was my core, my constant, my reason. She was the one thing that remained steady when everything else was up or down. I counted on her to be there when I complete grad school, when I get married, when I have children... and for all the moments in between. I never in a million years would have thought I'd have to tackle those events without her.
The first year was the worst. No surprise there. It was the Year of Firsts (Without Her). The first Thanksgiving, the first Christmas, the first birthday (mine and hers), the first Mother's Day. Each holiday providing its own unique reminder of what was no longer there. I'm a big card giver and so for that first year I continued to buy her cards. Call me crazy, I really don't care. It helped me. As I would stand in Hallmark amongst the other card purchasing customers, I felt like I had a huge scarlet letter on my chest. I felt like everyone in the store knew my secret, that the card in my hand was for a mother I no longer had. The scarlet letter is still there, I know I still wear it, but I've gotten used to it. And I know now that my scarlet letter is not visible to strangers, but only to those who know me, and know what happened. I will, at least for the next several years be the "girl whose mom died." That is my scarlet letter.
After I survived the first anniversary, August 26, I felt like a huge weight was lifted. It no longer preoccupied every moment of everyday. In my head, my every thought was no longer followed with "and my mom died." It sounds strange, but that's how it was. My inner monologue often sounded something like, "What should I have for dinner tonight? Mom died." "I need to get that report done for work. And moms gone." And I don't know how the switch flipped, but it did and on August 27, 2007 I woke up feeling like a new girl.
Now, don't get me wrong. Its still far from over. It will never be over. I will always miss her. I will always wish that she was here. I will always have my scarlet letter. But its a matter of acceptance now. And what helped me the most was allowing myself to feel. I think my mom taught me to be strong. I've never felt more strong and accomplished in my whole life as I do now.
And so as Mother's Day this year came and I went, I realized that everyday is Mother's Day to me. Every day I think about my mother, and every day I miss her. Every day I think about how much I love and appreciate her and how I wouldn't be who I am today without her. Sunday was the day Hallmark tells everyone else to do what I get to do every day.
Happy Belated Mothers Day :)