It’s been seven years since the last Mother’s Day we had together. I remember bringing you a box of Godiva Chocolates, that I knew you would be too sick to eat. I didn’t know what to get you, I just wanted it to be a normal day. We all knew you were dying, what do you buy for the dying?
I kept the ribbon that was on the box that day. I put it away for safe keeping. I don’t know why I did that, I think my subconscious knew that I would want to have something tangible later. It has a place of honor among my other treasures in the sea shell jewelry box my Great Uncle bought me on one of our many Wildwood excursions. Every now and again I take out that blue ribbon, now faded with the passage of time, and hold it in my fingers. It’s the only part of you that can be there for me now.
You were there with me the night I wanted to end it all and join you. Something pulled me to that tiny jewelry box and on top was your ribbon. I sat on my bed and cried as I twirled it between my fingers. You were with me, beside me, comforting me when I had to make the toughest decision of my life. You urged me forward, you urged me home.
Surviving these last seven years has not been easy. I know you’ve watched from above and smacked me on the head dozens of times. You’ve cheered my successes and wept for my failures. You know the bitterness I carry in my heart, the anger and the fear. You’ve been there too and carried the burden until you couldn’t carry it anymore. Yet, even in death you’ve been a comfort to me in times when I thought I could not carry on, you were there. How do I know this? It’s because I’m a mom too.
Being a mom, I know that death does not sever the bond. I know that death would never keep me from being there for my children. They would feel me like I feel you in every scent, song, tradition, saying, and picture that reminds them that I am there as you are with me. They would know I still share their pains with them and that they never walk alone.
I wish you could have met my children. I wonder every day what that would have been like. Every time they do something and i wish I could call you up and tell you. You know the anger and resentment that I carry is not your fault. I know it’s just the card that you were dealt but it’s a shitty card Cancer and it’s a card that I worry about every day.
I’m sorry I don’t visit your grave as much as I think I should. I just can’t bring myself to go there, being there makes it tangible and real, something that I can ignore otherwise because I’m chasing kids around all day. I can go about life until I’m forced to remember what we never got to have. The moments the a mother and daughter share when the child becomes a parent. I never got to complain to you about my kids and have you tell me they’re exactly like me. I’ll never hear you laugh when my daughter does something that I did and it infuriates me but makes you hysterical. Most all, I’ll never get to hear you say, “you’re a good mom, I’m proud of you.” Even as an adult, we still want to make our mothers proud.
On this Mother’s Day, I’ll celebrate it with my children and I’ll remind my friends be grateful. She may be a nag, she may be annoying but she’s your Mother and you never know how much you miss, until it’s gone.