I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to say this month. Mother’s Day is like the elephant in the room that couldn’t or shouldn’t be ignored, but I wasn’t sure how to discuss it with the COPE community because I am not a mother who has lost a child, but I do have a mother (hi mom!) who has lost a child. I decided to share with you excerpts from a letter I wrote to my mom after her first Mother’s Day without all of her children.
I know that our lives are never going to be the same without Lewis here. What that will look like or feel like, years from now, is unknown. It has been almost a year since we lost him and as such, we have now lived through and/or experienced almost all of the “firsts”: our birthdays, Opening Day, holidays, his birthday, and now Mother’s Day.
Mother’s Day is always acknowledged and celebrated as a day in which children honor, celebrate, and remind their mothers how much they are loved and how thankful we are to have them in our lives. It’s just as much a day, although it’s not thought of or expressed nearly as much, in which mother’s reflect on what it means to them to be a mother. To think about their children, the people they have become, the people they will still one day become, and to celebrate any or all of that.
This was the first Mother’s Day you had to live through since you lost one of your children and I could only guess that you probably didn’t know what the day would be like for you. I didn’t know what plans you had for the day, if any at all, and I didn’t want to ask you ahead of time because I was worried it would make you feel like you had to have some kind of plan for the day, or that there was some expectation that you would have to do anything other than what you felt like you could or couldn’t do, when the actual day arrived.
I had been thinking about Mother’s Day for quite some time before the actual day, trying to think about the best way for us to acknowledge the day and honor you. I knew it was going to be very difficult for me to say “Happy Mother’s Day” to you because of that damn word – happy. It’s the most commonly used expression but it didn’t feel right to me; it felt like I would be forcing a feeling or sentiment or an expectation on you. I couldn’t even write it on your card. If you were feeling happy, great; but me wishing you or telling you to have a Happy Mother’s Day was too uncomfortable for me. All of that being said, maybe you wanted or needed to be wished a “Happy Mother’s Day”, and maybe it was hurtful to you that I didn’t say that, but that’s why I am writing this to you, with the hope you’ll understand all of the thoughts and feelings (whether they were rational or irrational) that went into anything I said or did (or didn’t) on Mother’s Day.
What I wished for you on Mother’s Day, and what I will wish for you always, is peace and to feel my love for you.