“My mother is a poem that I could never write”
I couldn’t agree more. Every time I go to write about her, I grasp for words. I look back upon what I have just written and shake my head at the ways it falls short. Yet not writing about her at all is even worse, it feels that like the rest of the world I have moved on from memory. So I write my hollow thoughts.
Today is her birthday. Every year I wonder if it will be different, easier maybe. And so far every year it’s not. I noticed that loss of a loved one is somewhat like chronic pain: as you learn to live with it, people actually believe you’re better. Yet in reality, you’re just getting damn good at hiding it, treating it when it flares up so you don’t totally lose yourself to it. Everyday it’s the same fight; every night you feel the same pain. Only now, its familiar. Sometimes you can even trick yourself that it’s not there because you’re so used to it, see; but soon as you relax and let yourself pause, there it is, and it’s a world of hurt. But to most people in your life, if you said the words ‘I’m sad today’, they would ask why. Even though the answer is always the same.
Below: One year Dad had to work during Mom’s Birthday. While flowers wasn’t something he did often, this particular year he went all out and had these sent to her. Needless to say Mom was pretty impressed and had a great time with the surprise.
As a child it is not unusual to think your Mom is basically a deity incarnate. As an adult it is a little more unusual. While my Mother was human, sometimes a little too intense or loud, she had the tendency to take on too much chaos with her big heart. She was also utterly amazing. The way Mom loved us kids is inspiring to what the human heart is capable of. Whatever interests we had: sports, books, travel, music, art; she did her absolute best to not only support it, but be involved. She learned about it if she didn’t already know something of the subject and would engage us in conversations about it. She also pushed us; to try new things, to meet new people, to move outside of the comfort zone and experience things. She wasn’t afraid to revise her perception of something or someone. She would teach and lead others as if born to it, and then in the next moment, go to a class or seminar with us and be a model student.
Every year I feel like I’m just re-writing the same words. ‘Mom was the best’ ‘I really miss her’ etc. I guess I can take some comfort in that my feelings don’t change with time. Over the years I notice things that I wish I could have shared with her: an idea, a new artist she might like, thoughts about my life, the people in it, the world and how it affects me. To hear her thoughts and dreams as they changed and evolved. To get lost in our infamous half-day conversations (5 hours could go by and still there were subjects to be covered).
It’s her Birthday and all I want to do is light up her eyes by telling her how much she means to me. To plot with the younger kids on what to cook and to share with them the secret way to make the Bailey’s cake that she loves.
Mom’s Birthday is a mixed bag of emotions for me. On one hand I am so damn grateful and happy that I had her as my Mom, that we had so many great Birthdays. Yet on the other hand I am in a place that has no words, that there will be no more Birthday plotting. That all I have are memories. That my siblings and I don’t get to make new ones with her. I’m grateful for the time we did have, yet horribly envious of people 3 times my age whose Moms are still here.
She would only be 55 today. I know that she would look maybe 40. Be able to keep up with her teenage kids and their sports, have the energy for whatever dance/yoga/gym class she would be currently in while running the farm, family business and many other side projects.
I can honestly say my Mom was most loving, caring and strongest – in every sense of the word – woman I know.
Above: One of my most favorite pictures of her – just when she was getting big with her body building competitions.
Enjoy every Birthday with whomever you think of as Mom – blood or not.