I am liking, loving and smiling at the hundreds of images filling my feed of “mom and me.” There is even a Facebook frame for it. Nice.
My smile and good cheer are genuine, yet I can’t help but feel conflicted.
While I am a proud mother of 3, I am a daughter no more. Mom is gone.
I was adopted on the day of my birth and my mother was an incredible parent to a needy child. She saved me and then she raised me. I haven’t been needy in a long, long time. But not needing things doesn’t mean that I didn’t need her. I want to explain this to her. Do a presentation. Write a song. Demand that she understands.
And now she is gone. I am a daughter no more.
I want to tell stories of big plans and even bigger, grander memories that smooth the ache I feel in her absence. Those stories don’t exist because in recent years our relationship was complicated. How do I explain that complicated doesn’t diminish the pain, it deepens the loss?
Gone is a chance for a card that might perfectly capture what I wanted to say. Gone is a gift that might lighten the weight I could not bear seeing-so I didn’t see it nearly enough. Gone is a call met with just a little joy. Gone is a chance, a hope, a prayer that this time would be better. All gone. Knowing this can be crushing. This loss catches you off guard when you pick up the phone or hear a song-or a picture pops up-or a cousin pops by.
Grief is an incredible paradox for someone with a cheerful disposition. I silently scold myself for laughing too loudly or looking forward to a planned event.
What is wrong with you? I ask myself. How can you get up and go on and know that she is not here?
But I do.
I go on because if she taught me anything at all it was that nothing in this life should bring you to your knees and even if you find yourself there, it is a place you cannot stay.
Get up! That is what she always did.
So, I click and scroll and move through the days like I do on my Facebook timeline, mostly happy with a chance of tears. My life is like the weather in a sunny place. The sun is shining but a downpour can happen at any time.
I will celebrate Mother’s Day with my loving children. I will choose to be happy. I will not let a mark on the calendar rule my emotions.
I can’t be so sure if I can manage the mark on my heart.
Nicole is the founder of Brown BabyCakes. Like her on Facebook.
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