This month marks the fifth Mother’s Day since my beloved Mama died.
She left this world a little darker without the sunshine that made her so special. I write about her every year and I will write for her always. She always wanted us to write a book together as she was a wonderful storyteller. There’s not a day that goes by where I just want to talk to her and have long, heart to heart conversations like we used to.
It was nothing for us to sit on the phone for five hours at a time. My husband would say what on earth do you have to talk about? We were like peas in a pod, looking and laughing alike, and seeing the world from similar points of view. I remember the first time I became pregnant and how her eyes lit up when I told her. I’m the youngest of six and she said, “my baby is having a baby.”
When my first son made it safely into the world after a scary eleven-hour labor and emergency caesarean I was exhausted and relieved. I was ecstatic to call my Mom and express my gratitude. I wanted to thank her for all the late nights staying up and rocking me to sleep. Even though my Dad worked early morning hours and she would need to make his lunch and wake him up for work. I wanted to say thank you for loving me even when I was a precocious toddler and climbed everything from fences, trees, and our upright piano!
And to thank her for loving and supporting me through the teenage years. Even when I was appearing rebellious and unlovable. She never could stay mad very long at any of her kids. She told me all she ever wanted to do was be a Mom. Then God blessed her and my Dad with a large family.
I remember how I felt when I saw her hold my son for the first time. She sang Somewhere over the Rainbow to him like she had with me while my eyes filled with tears. She was a loving Grandma and Great Grandma to her grandchildren. She always had a special story, a dollar, and copious amounts of chocolate to share. She loved babies and always seemed to brighten up more when she held one.
The day I lost her is a moment forever etched in my memory.
I was eight months pregnant with my second baby. It was as if I was in a dream when I got that phone call from my brother. What he didn’t know was that my Mom came to me and when the sound of my cell rang I was waking up and reaching for her hand. It’s not a surprise that my precious baby made his appearance a month later with all the stress that enveloped me.
Grief plus postpartum depression equals a cluster of emotions so powerful that they took me down into an overwhelming undertow. Those days were difficult as the clouds in my heart threatened to darken my existence. My family and my friends gave me such amazing support by looking after my sons and listening to me pour out my grief. Now I take it one breath, one moment, one day at a time. It still surprises me that life continues on year after year and all the holidays she’s missed. Even when I wanted the to world to stop when my grief was flooding my senses in despair.
Now I ride the grief waves when they come.
It’s all I can do some days to keep myself afloat with being a special needs parent and needing my sweet Mama so much in my life. My family understands as much as they can how hard Mother’s day is for me. But my sons have me, and my husband has his Mom. Last year, I lit my candle said my prayers then Ozzy Osbourne’s song Mama I’m coming home came on the radio. I collapsed into tears while my son rubbed my back and my youngest got me a tissue.
It was like my sweet Mom was reaching out from heaven to let me know she’s always there for me, even beyond the clouds.
Later that day I remember scrolling through my newsfeed and a picture meme caught my attention. It said, “My Mother taught me everything I needed to know, except how to live without her.”
I stared at this picture and I thought to myself it’s true she did. My Mom was an amazing woman who’s kindness, laughter, and big heart was legendary. She loved to entertain and be entertained. I had always grown up listening to her singing while cooking supper and laughing when Three’s Company came on. She really adored that Jack Tripper and his wild antics.
Maybe one day I will be healed with the loss of my one and only Mom. My eyes fill with tears with happy memories I share of her with my sons. My oldest son was only four when she passed and she only knew of my youngest son as the sweet baby growing in my belly. I tell them of how much she loved them even before their arrivals. Our nightly prayers are sent out to her and we thank her for her love and light she bestowed on us all. When I’m missing her the most all I have to do is look in the mirror and there she is living through my blue, sad, eyes. And in the eyes of my sons, genetics are a precious gift that keeps on giving.
Today, on Mother’s Day, I think of and celebrate her with a kiss, a song, and always, my love.