Every year when the commercials start coming and ads blare out their best gift ideas to get your Mom, my anxiety level rises. What do I do on Mother’s Day? My only child, my 21-year old son died in an auto accident in 1988. We had a close relationship born of sharing huge life events that involved us starting over after a violent divorce. He was 6 years old and I was 27. Really two kids. Our lives were rich with adventure and down-to-earth decisions. We managed to find fun in all the work we had to do to be established and have a good life. We had so much and then it was gone in an instant. My struggle to rebuild a life without him is monumental.
But that’s not what stops me about Mother’s Day – the organized social marketing way of honoring your Mom. My son did it in various ways. When he was young, it was the macaroni necklaces, the clay made-at-school figures, his always handmade card and when was older, his signature yellow roses left on my kitchen table. We’d spend time together talking and giggling. We enjoyed each other’s company. So before each holiday, I get a little antsy. I know I won’t get a card or see yellow roses on the table, but I miss the talks. We sat on two big boulders in the front of the house to watch the sunset on one Mother’s Day. The talks at the kitchen table or in the garage where he was working on his Volkswagen, Reg – the talks in my art room while I was beading or painting – they remain at the heart of the holiday for me.
So this year, I thought – why should Mother’s Day be different than any other day? Is it when I feel his absence stronger? That’s not possible. My journey on the path without him has been hard and painful. There’s no hiding from the loss. It’s changed me into another person – sometimes fragile, sometimes angry to point of breaking – but it is my own journey now. My life is rich because he was in it – even for such a short time. He had a bright charisma that drew people to him – I just wanted more for him.
So this will be just another day. I’ll have rich memories and be happy that I have them. I will honor the other women who have their children still with them. And yes, I am still a mother even without new macaroni necklaces or fresh yellow roses.
Maybe I’ll buy some yellow roses and put them on the table. Why not?