Lesson for the Living
Mother's Day 2019, I had considered whether I was going to visit CT, about 3 hours away, to see my mom and dad. I didn't have my own kids with me and I tend to get squishy about family visits when they aren't there - not because of my family but because of me. Showing up unaccompanied by my kids always is a poignant reminder of the chasm that exists in my own nuclear unit and there still remains a bit of shame with that, regardless of how unfounded or unhelpful that might be.
I remember speaking with my girlfriend at the time about it and saying that I wanted to go and felt I should and, also, something about never knowing what tomorrow brings. She encouraged me. Boy, I couldn't have imagined what tomorrow (2020) would bring. Who could, really?
I drove to CT and visited with my mother. I remember ordering in food (Chinese, I think) and just spending time between the kitchen, where we ate, and our small den - just my mother, my father and myself.
There was no fancy clothes or getting ready to go out. There were no formal place settings or brunch. There were no multitudes of people around to meld into a sea of competing conversations, speeches or selfies. It was just my dad in his lounge chair and my mom and I on the couch. I remember I bought her an assortment of creams and salts, some of which were offered back to me (my daughter) as my father was cleaning out her things after she passed away.
I look back at that time not as a relief that I chose to visit because it was, in fact, the last Mother's Day for my mother, but rather because it was a simple and easy visit. It was all my mother wanted. It wasn't easy for her to get ready and she dealt with a lot of pain. I was not always as empathetic as I probably should have been and also had a sense of guilt for what my father probably was dealing with, also, as a caregiver.
But for a few short hours that Mother's Day, none of those conflicting feelings were there for me - or for my mother. That was a gift for both of us, I think. I have no iPhone photo to commemorate that day. I have no email or text from her that I can find, though I am sure she sent one. I have a memory and a feeling, which is enough to sustain me this Mother's Day.
For a long time, (and really still to this day), I am wading in the waters of loss - sometimes caressed by its gentle memories and at other times, pushed from my stable footing only to have to find it again. This just may be how it has to be. I continue to process through the developing tools available to me and it is a very solitary practice, as I suppose all practices of reflection and healing must ultimately be.
For all the complex, and sometimes conflicting feelings, that have arisen over the past 15 months, I was fortunate enough to have them finally released in a simple song. I have no photo. I have no email or text. But I do have a memory...and a song.
It is called, simply, "Mother's Day" and it is here if you are interested in hearing it and I have posted the lyrics, too.
For all those moms out there - whether celebrating or longing - may you be enveloped by love of those who are of blood, who are of water and who's energy is the guiding rhythm that leads you to your tomorrow. For those of us missing our mothers today, I wish the same for you, as well.
Until next time,