“Life began with waking up and loving my mother’s face.”
— George Eliot
My mom passed away in June of 2016. I wrote the following in preparation for my first Mother's Day without her.
This May will be my first Mother’s Day without her. I suppose I could just avoid the day. Avoiding feels like the natural way to go. I could tell myself that this day is no longer for me. The way someone else’s birthday is not mine. I could turn off the commercials that urge me to send flowers, buy jewelry and to make reservations for Sunday’s all you can eat shrimp at The Red Lobster.
Grief is like the ocean, it comes in waves ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim.
When I was a kid, still in the midst of enjoying my summer, it would pain me to see back to school commercials reminding me of what I was about to give up.
My summer. My freedom. I would turn off the TV whenever a back to school commercial came on. I suppose I could do that now. Of course I would also have to delete the Mother’s Day email offers, unsubscribe from Groupon for the entire month of May and not log onto Facebook.
I might have done all of that in the past but a couple of years ago I committed to the idea of living a more mindful, zenful, non-avoiding kind of life. And I don’t have kids so there’s no one to turn the focus on me for this day. This is where I stand in this moment in time and it occurred to me that some of you may also be standing right beside me. I’m writing this for us. So, this Mother’s Day, here’s what I’m going to do…
If you are quiet enough, you will hear the flow of the universe. You will feel its rhythm. Go with this flow. Happiness lies ahead.
1. Honor my Mother
Many people like to visit cemeteries on holidays and that’s great if it works for them but it doesn’t for me. I feel like the cemetery is the last place where I saw my mom’s shell but the real her was long gone by that point. I want to remember the real her. How she felt, the sound of her laughter and how her energy radiated in a room. To do that, I will share my mom with others. Here she is in photos and here she is talking about the afterlife.
2. Honor the Day
My mother may not physically be around today but I have friends with moms who are alive and well and I plan on wishing them well on this day. Because moms, in general, I’m a big fan of.
3. Honor Myself
I will do my yoga and meditate, like I do each morning. Then, I will see where the day takes me. Maybe I’ll plant some plants in the garden and remember how much my mom adored her plants. I’ll probably light a candle with her photo beside it and most likely post something on Facebook. But, maybe I won’t. Maybe the missing of my mom will feel unbearable and if it does, that’s okay, because I know it will pass. Mostly, I will take it slow and be gentle and kind to myself by letting the ebbs and flows of grief and happy memories naturally work their way through. I might even go to the movies. The new movie “Mother’s Day” opens.
I’ll bring kleenex, just in case.