I remember the dread I used to feel as Mother's Day approached.
In those first few years after Mom died the commercials and the cards in every aisle served as a constant, relentless reminder of what was lost.
I’m grateful that the heavy weight of dread is gone now. Mostly gone, now.
It’s been 7 years since I last saw my mom alive. 7 years ago today that I saw her slipping away, but said nothing, hoping it was in my head, hoping she’d come back to me again.
I had seen her fade away before. I lost her a million times. I lost her to alcoholism and mental illness. I lost her and lost her and lost her.
I missed her deeply before she was really even gone.
But I never lost sight of who she wanted to be. I always believed she would come back to us, even when she lost all hope.
7 years later and the dread is, mostly, gone. The missing remains. It has settled in. It’s here to stay, I think.
I miss her more than ever as I experience motherhood.
I stopped imagining my life with her in it some time ago, but it’s still hard for me to imagine August’s life without her in it. It seems that they should know each other. I am so sure of the love they would have had for one another. I can see them, playing on the floor. Throwing their heads back in laughter, singing and dancing together.
I can hear him squealing with delight as she walks in the door with a new toy. I can hear her saying his name.
I can almost feel it.
I feel it and I dig in my heels. Not to push away the rage and the pain and loss like I once I did. I dig in my heels and I feel the ground beneath me and I feel the woman she wanted to be within me, the woman she hoped I would be within me and the person I’ve chosen to become, the mother I'm choosing to be for my son.
I spin my boy around and around. I chase him as he yells “dinosaur mommy, dinosaur mommy.” I point out yellow roses and tell him they are love notes from “mommy’s mommy.” I tell him how much she would have loved him. I tell him how much I love him.
She can’t come back now, but the parts of her I loved the most, that I miss the most, are the parts I feel when I’m with my son. They are the parts of her that got buried beneath the pain and the illness when she was alive, they are the parts I get to remember now. They are the parts that are still here.
I remember wanting time to stop after she died because I was so afraid to be moving away from my memories of her. 7 years later I’ve walked through so much dread and sorrow, hurt and rage.