Saturday, May 9, 2015

Mother’s Day Musings

My mom, on my wedding day, less than a week before she was to begin chemo. 2004
Mother’s Day is once again upon us.

As I've mentioned before, my mother is no longer with us. She lost her second battle with breast cancer in November of 2005, when I was nine months pregnant with her first grandchild.

Yeah, there’s a heavy statement, eh?

There’s plenty of adjectives that could go in that sentence, too... tragic, sad, devastating, awful, heartbreaking... and all of them are trite and overly simplistic. It’s impossible to put to words how all-encompassing losing her was, and attempting to do so seems like a betrayal of her memory.

She’s more than a string of words.

Besides, no one else is supposed to know exactly what it felt like, or what it feels like now.

If we all were meant to understand each others' lives, then we would all suffer the same trials. That’s the beauty of life—everyone’s experience is slightly different, and there is much wisdom to gain from listening to the lessons others have learned along their path. But secondhand wisdom will never cut the message as deep; it is not the same as having that those lessons engraved on your bones.

So yes, it was sad. And it was heart-wrenching. And traumatic. And catastrophic. And fill-your-heart-with-black-terror-crippling at the thought of facing parenthood without the woman who brought me into this world and raised me up.

Mom and me, circa 1980.

But that’s life.

I learned much from her, and her memory, and even her absence.

And I have a secret...

I don’t think of her as much as I imagined I would.

Sure, I love her, and I miss her, and would have her back in a heartbeat if I could. At times my heart hurts to think of my children and what she’s not here to witness as they grow.

But thoughts of her don’t haunt me every day. When I think of her I smile. When I think of her, I know she’s proud. Of me, of Mr Lannis, of our boys, and of our choices. It’s shocking to think of how much has happened without her.

I don’t need anyone to tell me that she’d be proud of me; I know.

As cliché as it sounds, I carry her with me.

Mom and Mr Lannis. Because she loved him, and he lost her, too. 2005.

Not long ago I struggled with guilt for not thinking of her more... I’m settled. My father has remarried, and I couldn’t have picked a better woman to be my stepmother if I’d tried. She even brought me three step-siblings whom I adore.

Life is good.

So it’s easy to feel guilty for not missing my own mother more.

After reflection I realized the pressure came from outside of me; I perceived that society was telling me I should be paralyzed still for this loss that happened almost a decade ago. As if the world had a scale dictating how depressed I should be about my own lot in life, and I was somehow not honouring her memory with enough misery.

The truth is she taught me to be happy, and I am.

I’m not pining for her, I’m not whining or wallowing. I’m content.

No, I’m more than that. She gifted me with much more than that.

At times I’m fierce, and stubborn, and spiritual, and raw, and creative, and competitive, and generous, and selfish, and dazzling, and arrogant, and imperfect, and magnificent.

And human. I know this.

Mom and me, on Mr Lannis' and my wedding day. 2004.

And I’m happy because she would have wanted me to be happy, and that’s the best way to honour her memory.

And I’m not sad. Because even with her absence she’s made me who I am.

I am happy.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. I love you.

No comments:

Post a Comment