Mother’s Day is a tough day for me – a mixture of happiness and sorrow. It’s a constant battle and I never know which will win. Don’t get me wrong every day I think of my mam, but Mothering Sunday seems to be one of the most difficult. I am never a girl for these types of public celebrations, especially Valentines, but seeing others publishing comments/photos and wonderful days out with their mother only pulls at my heartstrings and I feel a strong sense of envy. If only I could be doing that….
I was 13 when my mother died. It didn’t come as a total surprise as she had been ill for most of my life but at the same time, it was a shock. To be ill was one thing, but to die? People kept pointing out how tragic it was that she died so young. Forty six didn’t seem that young to me. Then.
As time passes, my memories continue to diminish and I often think of the amount of my life I have been without her. Silly thoughts like the fact I have had our dog Tina longer than she was my mother. Comparing the time with your mother versus the life cycle of a dog doesn’t seem quite right….
At the time I never realised those 13 years would turn out to be so precious. If I had, maybe I would have done things a little differently? I look at photos of her and wonder how, after everything she had been through, she had the most beautiful complexion and wrinkle free face. No grey hairs in sight. How long would she have stayed that way?
So much has changed over the years and that’s what makes her absence so poignant. What would she have thought of my life? What would she have thought about my decisions? Not knowing the answers to these questions hurts.
Since having the girls, these feelings have gotten worse. I wish every day that she could have watched them enter this world and see them growing into the beautiful young ladies I see before me. As a mother you expect to watch your children walk down the aisle, have children of their own and maybe even see your grandchildren get married themselves. My mother didn’t get to see any of that with me and my sister.
When the girls were born, I struggled beyond belief. All I wanted was my mother to be there to get to know them and to share the feelings of ecstasy, fear and exhaustion that only a new mother experiences. I wanted to place them both in her arms and watch her hold them in awe, just as she had once held me.
On Thursday after picking up Annabelle from the Childminders, my brief opinion on grief and how to handle it was playing on a podcast. The tail end played as I drove the short ride home. Annabelle asked what the lady was talking about. I have always been open with the girls about their Grandma Ginia so I explained that the lady was talking about Mammy losing her Mammy when she was a teenager. She looked at me blankly, laughed and said “that’s really funny mammy!” Despite the gloomy nature of the conversation, I laughed too. Oh to have a four year olds perspective on life!
I wish my girls could have gotten to know Grandma Ginia and enjoy the special relationship they have with their other grandparents. I am so grateful they have my dad, Mary, Margaret & Tony to share experiences with and make memories that will last a lifetime. Despite this I still want to share so much with my mam. I want to share the love and pride I have for everything the girls do as well as the frustration and solace when things don’t get as well as I had wanted.
But it’s not just that, I also want to be held by her like I was when I was young so she could talk to me, I could hear her voice and the touch of her skin. She could tell me her thoughts and give me her blessing on my life and my choices. I want to let her know that even though we only had 13 short years together she gave me so much.
People wonder why I care so much about Mother’s Day. But you see for me, it isn’t about the gifts – it’s the feeling of appreciation. Every day I am an auto pilot doing what needs to be done, but for one day it’s nice to stop and feel like I am in fact, doing a good job. I never got a chance to tell my mam that and I want to be able to have this with my girls. Give them something that I miss every day of my life – the opportunity to say things to your mother you may not say on a normal day. To stop, realise and appreciate. I wish I could have told my mam how much gratitude I have for her strength and sacrifices.
As that old saying goes, you never know what you have got until it’s gone.
This Mother’s day, I will sit with my family and I will think about my mother and know how precious such times can be. I will remember how much she and I have missed.
But most of all I will be grateful for having the day with my two girls. I will stop, realise and appreciate the fact that some people don’t have that luxury.
I for one will cherish it.
Happy Mother’s Day.