Matt, tomorrow is Mother’s Day. My 6th without you. Even as I type these words my heart continues to disbelieve my reality. I can feel those waves starting to change from swimmable to ones that will pull me under sucking the breath out of my lungs. That familiar chest heaviness has been following me all day waiting behind every corner ready to pounce.
This year, my grief is multifaceted. A blend of old and new. Still having the power to bring me to my knees. This is my first Mother’s Day without my mom, your grandmother. Last year I struggled to find the appropriate card. We weren’t best friends. We were oil and water. She was black and white and I am grey. Mother’s Day changed after your death.
Before you died we went through the motions. Both uncomfortable but playing the game by presenting a false front to friends and family. After your death she abandoned me. She wasn’t there to hold me as I screamed. She disappeared from my life like that sailboat you see on the horizon floating further and further away until it’s no where to be found.
Most of our fights began when I questioned her behavior. I just wanted to understand how she could walk away from her grieving daughter. She died with her secrets untold. I grieve the relationship we never had. I grieve the life you should have had. Her death, so unexpected just like yours. I was foolish with both of you always thinking there would be another time to talk, to hash things out. Your deaths hold shocking similarities. Sudden and so unexpected.
So now I once again fight to pick up my pieces. To try to make it through a day to celebrate Mothers. Realizing I no longer have to stress about finding that perfect card for her has churned up emotions I never thought I would feel. Knowing there will be no card from you shatters my already scarred heart.
Time does nothing to lessen my grief. Mother’s Day is bittersweet. I will always be your mother. I long to hear you voice. To see you coming in the door with that smile lighting up my heart. I long to step back in time and redo everything done when I foolishly thought there would always be more time to say what needed to be said.
I long to have a relationship with my mom. One that was loving and natural. I long to hear her say I love you. I needed so badly for her to explain why she chose to ignore my grief and get on with her life. I long to return to the past when you were both here and time was something we had plenty of.
Reality is harsh. Tomorrow will be filled with loss. I feel like I’m floating on a very small life raft in a very big churning ocean. I know those waves are coming. I remember their power to pull me under struggling to find dry land. Tomorrow I will have no control over when or how they hit. Memories will find me as tears will fall. Life as I knew it is gone. All I can do is hang on and wait for the seas to calm again.
Matt, Today is Mother’s Day. My 5th without you. Even as I write these words I still struggle with my reality. The thought that you really aren’t coming through my door with flowers in your hand and a dog at your heel continues to break my heart.
How did we get here? I still question why you left. Why life turned out to be this nightmare. Why God didn’t answer my prayers like I wanted. You should be here.
Today is such an incredibly painful day. For weeks I’ve been tortured by the Hallmark commercials with smiling Moms and beautiful children. The perfect family gathered around the perfect mother celebrating their perfect day.
Doesn’t Hallmark know that for some of us Mother’s Day is a brutal reminder of what we no longer have? Of children that no longer live. Children who won’t be calling or sending cards to celebrate our day. Children who’s voices were silenced by an untimely death. Children who’s faces and smiles are frozen in time.
Mother’s Day was once a day I looked forward to. If my love was enough, you would be sitting beside me surrounded by family. We would be laughing and hugging. Filling our plates with crabs and corn. Sharing stories of your childhood antics with your brother. Pups would be chasing squirrels as we enjoyed the beauty of my gardens and the warmth of the shining sun.
Today all I have are precious memories and cards from past Mother’s Day. Treasured pieces of paper signed by you. I hold them close reading each word while running my finger over your signature. You always laughed at me for saving cards now perhaps you understand why.
Today there is no family gathering. No shining sun. Today, the weather mimics my soul. Dreary and cold. Rain hitting the window makes me think that the angels are crying for Mom’s like me. Knowing this pain will never let go. I will mourn you as long as I breathe.
Today I will give myself a gift. I will allow memories to overflow in my mind as my tears fall shamelessly from my eyes. I will not pretend to be ok. The mask I wear to get through life will remain in hiding. Today I will be true to my grief. I will allow it to wrap it’s arms around my soul as I remember you as my loving son. Today I will allow myself to break. I will close my eyes and see your smiling face.
Today I will reaffirm that I will always be your Mother. I pray I will feel you with me. That you will be with me in spirit as I remember your love as both my little boy and as an amazing man. I will speak to you as if you were sitting next to me. I will pray for a sign showing me you are near.
Today I will be that Mother learning to survive her day. A Mother learning to live with a broken heart on her special day. A Mother living with a child who lives in Heaven.
Matt. Mother’s Day is two days away. I can feel the dread hanging outside my heart. Like a lost dog it’s crying to be let in. I’ve fought all week, keeping my mind so busy hoping that I would forget what this Sunday signifies. I’m fighting for my life. Battling my reality against the fantasy I’ve created in my mind. I can not allow myself to believe that you are gone. I must protect my sanity with every ounce of my strength. In my mind you are living at the beach. Living life in recovery. Working and healthy. My fantasy is where I go when the abyss calls to me. Threatening to take me to a place I can not allow myself to go. Hanging on like the cat hanging from that tall tree. Knowing if my grip loosens I will fall so deeply into grief I may never return.
My survival depends on how long I can pretend. Reality is dark and ugly. My legs push through quick sand trying to run from what is real. Trying desperately to keep my mind in fantasy mode. Knowing the mask I wear will crack and crumble if reality sinks in. I tell myself it’s just another Sunday. I avoid looking at Mother’s Day cards when shopping. I stay as far away as I can from reminders that there will be no more cards signed Love Matt.
This grief can never be described. There are no books instructing me on how to survive a day that brings such incredible pain. A day that even Hallmark can not put into words.
I plan to run away. Like an angry, unhappy child I am running to find my peace. Our sea beckons me to come, to breathe and to remember. I need to be where you were. I need to feel you wrap around me like the ocean breeze. I need to hear the seagulls cry your name. I need to sit and hold onto myself while allowing my mind to go there.
I will allow myself to remember past Mother’s Days spent together by the sea. Sitting close as the sun kissed our skin with warmth. Walking together with the pups. The surf soaking our pants as unexpected waves hit. Laughing as wet, sandy dogs ran barking and biting at the surf spray hitting their noses. A mother and her youngest son spending time together at their peaceful place. A son, a man fighting a horrible disease. A mother who refused to give up. A mother now grieving your loss. Her heart shattered into a million pieces never to be whole again.
Those days full of hope and dreams. Sun, surf and a love shared between a mother and her son. You were never too old to say I love you Mom. Never too old for hugs. A little boy in the body of a man. My forever towhead running on the beach squealing with delight as the waves rushed to pull you in. Reaching for me to be your anchor, pulling you safely ashore. You and I had something special. A truth, an honesty that few shared. I was never afraid to tell you how much you meant to me. How much your addiction changed my life. How badly my heart ached for you and how helpless I felt in your battle.
This Mother’s Day, I will allow bits of reality to find a path through my fantasy. Memories now so painful and precious are what I have left of us. Those precious days we shared by the sea. Like a film projector, I will control how much my heart can handle. I will protect my sanity while allowing those memories to keep you alive. I will look for signs that you are there walking by my side. I will close my eyes and hear your voice. I will see your smile in the clouds. I will pray that you know I’m here in our special place looking for the missing piece of my heart. Be my anchor my beautiful boy. I need you to keep me sane. Until we meet again I will always look for you.