When Mom is Gone
It no longer stings on Mother’s Day. My mother died in 2003 after a brief illness. My sister and two aunts surrounded her as we watched the monitors flat line while the breathing machine kept pumping false life into her. This was not the way she wished to go, and it was hard for my sister and me to not be able to fulfill her wish as fully as we wanted to. “It’s not quantity of life, it’s quality of life,” she said to us many times. Now on Mother’s Day, I find myself urging friends whose mothers are still living to cherish the time with them if they can a bit more than I normally do. Memories are precious and sustaining, but what I would not give to have one real world/real time chat with mom.
She and my father taught me many things about the preciousness of life, of friendships, of loving, and about commitment. A couple of years or so ago, I realized that it was through being true to these things that I continue to carry my mother’s voice with me and her presence surrounds me. Mother’s Day no longer became a day to get through or try to ignore. It has become a day of celebrating what nurturing women in my life have gifted me with over the years and the joy of having nurturing women in my life now. I am also very aware that not all mothers are nurturing or pass along healthy things about life and living to their daughters. So I try not to make my mother into a saint in order to carry her memory with love and respect, but I try to remember her as being utterly human—strengths and flaws all. I live in a festival of thankfulness.