The real Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day.

Today is International Bereaved Mother’s Day.

I spent one Mother’s Day with no living children and I pray, hope and plead it be the only one I ever have.

That first Mother’s Day was 3 months after she died.

I remember dreading the day and it was a thousand times worse than I imagined it would be. Matthew was so lovely and kind to me that day, he tried so hard to make it be an easier day but nothing could take away the sheer agony of being a mother without her child.  Her memorial was the following weekend, our eyes were trained to that date and Mother’s Day felt like this gigantic hurdle we had to leap before we could get there.

The night before Matthew gave me my Mother’s Day gift, a gardening book I had my eye on and cherish to this day.  I love to garden and I spent hundreds of hours and countless dollars on our flower garden in the back of our old house.  We thought if I spent the day in the garden with the living, doing something I love perhaps the weight of the day would lift.

Good idea.

Except at 3 months out I was still very weak and could barely lift  much more than a trowel without Matt’s help.  And my desire to do anything was very small. My arms felt like lead, aching from the sheer agony of loss.  I had little to no endurance and my scars would stretch at the slightest wrong movement.  After an hour of attempting to prep the flower beds for spring planting I flopped down on the wet grass, burying my head in my knees and sobbed.

I screamed and sobbed, wailing out the endless pain of being without my girl.  Matthew came and picked me up and took me inside.  We left all the spring tools outside even as it began to rain.  Neither of us having the strength of will to pick them up.  After a hot bath and a glass of wine we curled up with take out and tried to forget the day even existed.

I can’t say I feel any different about Mother’s Day now.  This is my third Mother’s day and although I do not find myself buckling under the weight of grief, I do not find this a day to celebrate.  I turn off and attempt to ignore social media in the time leading up to it because it all feels so false.  If any day has realism it is today.

International Bereaved Mother’s Day has much more meaning to me.  It is not the act of mothering that makes a person a mother to me but rather their intention to do so. And that is why today means so much to me.  Mother’s Day in its commercialism does not include loss Mama’s.  International Bereaved Mother’s Day includes all Mother’s in its recognition of intention.

So here is my quiet salute, I raise my coffee mug to all Mama’s reading whether you are parenting a living child or one gone, to you as a Mother. A worthy, loving, beloved Mother.  Happy Mother’s Day.