This was my first mother’s day without a mother.
I wasn’t sure who I would be.
My mother being my mother was central to my existence.
This is how it is when you have a mother like mine:
Everything I did was inspiring and fantastic and gave her enormous joy.
Sunday morning, I came downstairs to a gourmet meal prepared by my husband and children.
The table was set with fancy china, napkins and a cloth tablecloth.
They up-leveled themselves by a thousand levels for me.
We took pictures, and had a bonded and appreciative meal together.
Serious love bubble in the kitchen.
When I went to get dressed after, I suddenly felt like I’d been hit in the stomach.
The first thing I would have done after breakfast was email my mom the photos of the feast, with detailed descriptions and accolades.
The last scone would have been packaged for her to taste.
I knew this news would make her day.
She would respond with a flowery message full of praise and adoration and gratitude.
She’d let my kids and husband and children know of her delight in what they did for me.
I think that’s really why I ever took these photos.
Even at 50, my mother’s enthusiastic pride and joy in me feels necessary.
Totally taken for granted until now.
Always always there.
Suddenly and too soon.
And yet, still there.
I feel her so strongly at times it’s almost as if she’s more real now.
Because she’s inside me, and fills me, and sends me signs all the time.
That she sees, that she loves, that she knows.
Grief is intense, yet merciful.
Sunday turned out to be peaceful and heart warming.
Bike ride with my husband.
Silent hand holding at the lake.
A bird chirping for our attention – my mother approving of our finding and giving comfort with each other.
A hike with my family, my sister and my nephew.
Gelato on an outside patio.
We were careful with each other.
Kind, gentle, appreciative of our fresh spring day.
I’m learning that I never know how I’ll be.
When I think I’ll be okay, sometimes I can’t hold myself together.
When I’m scared I won’t be able to be okay, like today, Mother’s Day,
Sometimes I’m happy.
I’ve learned that this is how to do life, grief included.
I just don’t let story or expectation in.
Whatever comes is allowed, felt, and then allowed to pass by me.
And always, always, overwhelming gratitude for a mother who insulated me in layers and layers of pride and praise and attention and love.
While she is physically gone, her gift to me, always available, warms and sustains me.