2015 - "Mother's Day"

Here it comes. So reliable.  Every year - it arrives, welcomed by Hallmark and consummated by well wishes from every nook and cranny.  It once was happy for me, now its really hard. 

Since losing Joseph to brain cancer 5 1/2 years ago, I have wrestled with how to handle this day.  After all, I am lucky enough to not only still have my own mother but also that she is beyond amazing, understanding and one of the most supportive and empathetic people I have ever known.  I also have three other children who are very much alive and, now, old enough to have learned from others that Mother's Day is a time to celebrate your mom.  How do I celebrate my mom and allow my living children to celebrate me while nursing the the hole in my heart from losing my oldest child; the very child who made me a mother in the first place? 

I want to crawl into a hole...each and every Mother's Day.  My closest friends and family have mostly honored that wish. They've come to my door some years, both literally and figuratively, and cried with me and I have truly appreciated it.  Its not that I enjoy being sad or mourning the death of my child, but I do "enjoy" the validation that comes with sharing my sadness.  To me, it represents a love much deeper than Hallmark could ever offer and a tangible representation of how much my son meant to everyone who knew him.  

But, despite this small comfort, I am still forced to figure out how to navigate this day when it stares me in the face year after year.  My husband and I have found a somewhat humorous compromise by wishing one another, "Mother's Day" or "Father's Day."  We leave out the "Happy" when we write cards to each other or express the wish to one another.  That seems more real for us.  Not that we wouldn't want to live "the happy" but to wish it seems insensitive and ignorant so we choose to take the more realistic route and just wish one another "a day."  That works for us and our little kids haven't caught on yet so it ends up "working" for everyone in some way.

This year we are doing the same thing we did in 2008 for Mother's Day...it is a celebration that involves my mom too.  We last did this particular outing in 2008 (Joseph's last healthy Mother's Day when he was alive) and believed it would become an annual tradtition only to find that by Mother's Day, 2009, we would be in the middle of a 10-week chemotherapy regimen in an unsuccessful attempt to shrink Joseph's brain tumor.  And by 2010, Joseph had died 10 months earlier and Mother's Day for me was nothing more than a steady flow of tears followed by exhaustion, numbness and more tears.  Tissues, tissues and more tissues.  But, this year, we are returning to that plan that we did in 2008 because something I have learned over the past five Mother's Days without Joseph is that it stinks no matter where I am so we may as well try to rekindle the original plan because it was a really good one.  

And maybe, just maybe, somewhere, somehow, Joseph will be there with us...either in spirit or in some other form that I can't fully process in this life.  Maybe, just maybe he will - one can certainly hope.  And, if he's not, then at least I am doing something I once did with him that made us all quite happy and I can relive those memories while making new ones with my mom and other children, all of whom deserve only the best.

So, I wish, "Mother's Day" - to all of the wonderful, bereaved mother's out there, who are shackled by the pain in their heart every day.  

Despite how you may feel, you are not alone.