Yesterday, as I sat in the backseat of my girlfriend’s car, driving from Las Vegas to San Diego hungover beyond words, I quietly wept for my mother. I tried to remember our last Mother’s Day together. Did I get her flowers? Did I take her to lunch? Did I make her feel special in any way? I couldn’t remember, and it was bringing me to tears. Our last year together was certainly a rough one. I was a single-minded brat and she was a raging alcoholic, and we both were extremely difficult to deal with. Being so-called “motherless” on Mother’s Day hasn’t seemed to get any easier as time goes by. Every florist, jewelry store and greeting card company has come together and blasted us with reminders that Mother’s Day is around the corner. All social media platforms blow the fuck up with Mother’s Day posts, pictures, and quotes and every year some people unintentionally but forgetfully ask what I did for my Mom on her special day. Which always hurts.
It’s easy to resent a day like Mother’s Day. Everyone around you feels immense love, comfort, and happiness. While I feel an overwhelming sense of hopelessness, sadness and above all: Loneliness. It’s usually this time of year that I start having a lot of dreams about my Mother, always negative in nature and often times haunting. She is always unapologetic, angry, running away, avoiding me in every possible way –I’m always over reactive, defensive and upset with her that she abandoned me due to her addiction. Despite these resentful dreams, I miss her every single day. I suppose I’m just confused, maybe my brain can’t process happy emotions towards her since I haven’t forgiven her. I’m still mad at myself for not speaking to her for a while. I’m still disappointed that I haven’t visited her grave. I’m still regretful that I have lost touch with my stepdad and sister. But I am so thankful for her everyday, and especially on Mother’s Day.
I wish I could call her for the little things. I want to tell her about my job, some cool trips I’ve been on, I want to waste an hour of her time while I get stuck in shit-hole traffic. I want to tell her that I still have her purse I bought her for her last Birthday on Earth. Filled with all of her makeup and small items like headphones, cinnamon mints and a pack of Marlboro lights. I want to call her every time Evanescence comes on the radio or anytime I drive by her favorite Italian restaurant. I want to stop the gorgeous blonde in the isle of the grocery store with her back towards me, run up to her and know that it’s my mom and has just been away for a while. But it’s never her. And I can’t do any of the above things I yearn to do so badly.
The last time I saw her she was cold, breathless and emotionless. A horrifying and heartbreaking image I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy. Unfortunately due to my stubborn religious views I don’t feel I will ever see her again. I’ve always relied on science when it comes to death, and I don’t trust that she will be waiting for me with open arms when my time comes to an end. Of course I invite alternative beliefs, and would never judge someone based on their religion. But regardless, I don’t think there is anything wrong with looking at life as a “one time thing”. I think people lose track of reality and the beauty in the moment when they rely on an afterlife for ultimate happiness. If I learned anything from my mom it was that life is too short and we need to literally cease the moment. Spend time with the people that make you the happiest, go on an adventure that challenges you, take a leap of faith without always knowing the consequences.
Although nothing can truly fill the void of losing your mother, here are a few tips I encourage for those who have suffered the same:
- Look at old photos: Unfortunately my mom hated the camera more than I do, so we don’t have a lot of pictures together. But MAN do I cherish the few we do. It’s always nice to look back at pictures and remember the actual moments, the smells, the feelings in the air. Pictures are the only way I can actually see Mom, and it really brings some raw mixed emotions of sadness, regret, happiness, and love.
- Cherish the other ‘mother’s’ in your life: I surprised my stepmom with a sexy leather jacket and thanked her for raising me and being such an integral part of my life. I made sure to give special attention to my Grandmother, my friends that are moms and am even taking my coworkers mom out tonight for a late celebration to thank her for all she has done for me while I have been in California and away from family. Also try to spend time with people who understand what you are going through. Last night I hung out with my roomie who also lost her mom too soon, we had dinner and watched movies and enjoyed each other’s company. Remind yourself that this is technically just another Hallmark Holiday, and the true definition of motherhood isn’t based on blood, but instead on love.
- Practice forgiveness. I would be a hypocrite if I say I’ve moved on from losing Mom. She was too damn young, and she had so much to give to the world. Knowing that she will never be a part of my future milestones tears me apart. She won’t be dancing with my brother at his wedding, she won’t get to approve the person I spend the rest of my life with, she won’t meet her future grandkids or even listen to me bitch about work or other seemingly petty bullshit. But it’s important to practice to forgive and try to remember the good times and not focus on the bad.
- If you feel the need, reach out and get some professional help. My Dad practically forced me to see a therapist after I lost Mom. And I have zero regrets about finally letting down my guard and opening up to an unbiased individual.
- Ball your fucking eyes out. Not like my calm, sedated, secretive cry in the back of my friend’s car yesterday. I’m talking about that ugly cry, where you can’t catch your breath. Let yourself truly FEEL
Lastly to my beautiful mother – thank you for contributing to the person I am today. Thank you for showing me how devastatingly short life is and to explore often, work hard, and love ever so deeply. I miss you so much.