I hesitated posting this – the old me would have kept this to herself. She would have said, chin up. She would have smiled a smile in vain. And kept her emotions in check. Her broken heart hidden. But the spirit and soul that’s resided within me all along; the one that I’ve finally tapped into, knows better now. I’ve come to realize. To truly understand. The bravest thing to do is to share my words so they can set me free.
I’m really not one to dwell on what I no longer have. Life would be vacuous and pointless. I’ve lived most of my adult life spinning skeins of multi-colored yarn into a warm blanket of love and understanding. Celebrating an acceptance of diversity, changing out the color and texture as necessary. Applying a delicate touch or a stronger hand according to my children’s needs.
This is a mother’s love.
Tomorrow is Mother’s Day. And every year on this day, my willful mind becomes a sojourner as my broken heart follows along.
It remembers all too well, the first Mother’s Day after our son’s death in December. Before I could even make it to the bathroom, tears plummeted from reservoirs deep within me that had apparently been stockpiling them for awhile. I’d rehearsed in vain, how this day would be; how I would be, but having ineptly practiced the art of grieving the loss of a child, I’d learned that we must first empty ourselves of seemingly all the tears we have, in order to be filled with love and healing again. Our tears fill the void until we’re ready to drink from life’s fountain ourselves. My version of strong that first Mother’s Day without him, wouldn’t hold the dam. Why should it anyway.
Outside it was a gorgeous, bright day that contrasted my emotions. How dare the day be so beautiful, I thought.
I gazed out the window at the pink and white peonies, whose heads were heavy in the morning sun. Brightly colored pansies lined the brick patio above. Usually my breathing space: not even my flowers could charm me today. They only served to remind me how hopelessly sad I was.
I wandered back to bed, trying to summon up a mere scrap of my former self to hold onto. Fighting hard for some semblance of light to keep me from being swallowed whole by the darkness of the grief monster. As I sat in bed feeling utterly absent amongst familiar surroundings, my husband walked in carrying a tray. On it were the usual accoutrements of a beautiful Mother’s Day breakfast in bed. Eggs benedict and bacon, cappuccino and orange juice.
And a card made by my husband…from our son, Preston.
As I looked at the boy holding flowers, sans wheelchair, pieces of my heart slowly bled out until there was nothing left. Weak and drained, I’d given in to this piercing pain again. Through hazy, tear stained eyes, I gazed out the window to the blue sky above, once more. This bright and beautiful day made sense after all.
Thank you dear son, for sweeping the clouds away.
Yes, my beloved boy – you do live up there. Running, skipping and jumping. Free of the body that kept you trapped. Free from pain. And yes, you will forever live on in my heart, in my mind, in my actions and my deeds. Though you are gone from this earth, I will forever weave a tapestry of love; so thick and rich, so bright in color it can’t be missed. Like that of the love you left behind. I’ll wrap it in between and around all the people I love.
I promised you I’d be alright and to that I will hold true.
But…this Mother’s Day will prove to be a challenge again. It will be my first one without any children. Our sweet daughter has a bachelorette party to attend. Who plans a bachelorette party on MD weekend when the wedding isn’t until July, anyway? But I’m not (am) bitter.
I’ve always had her wit and humor to get me through the day. Her mere presence reminds me of the blessings that I have. As I write this, I silently whisper to her…miss you already. Her love is that soft texture to the touch I’ve come to count on oh so much. I realize I’m being a bit of a whiny baby right now. One day she will have her own children and our Mother’s Day arrangements will fluctuate based on the needs of her own family. And that will be just fine.
Consequently, for this Mother’s Day I’ve informed (threatened) my husband that he’d better have a HUGE day planned for me. It should include an amazing outing complete with some (a lot of) mimosas. I see deep dark chocolate in my future, as well, if he knows what’s good for him.
And so, as we did throughout our son’s life: I will meet and greet this day with an abundance of humor and love. And I will think of all the other moms who are in the same situation as me. The “new to the club moms,” who are reluctantly celebrating their first Mother’s Day minus a child to hug good morning, as they look out their window and wonder why.
I’ll think of the moms who are preparing to say good-bye to a child, knowing this is their last Mother’s Day with them, and I’ll offer up healing meditations for us all. I’ll be kind to myself and I’ll remember what strength a tear can hold. And I’ll be thankful that I have, still, a best friend in my wonderful daughter, and an amazing husband who will catch me if I fall.