Mother’s Day has been different for me since Mom passed away. My inbox still fills this time of year with spam to “Don’t forget Mom.” Commercial.
I’ve written about Mom over the years—her battle with Parkinson’s disease, and she appears, in some form or another, in a lot of my fiction. My effort to keep her memory alive, and perhaps to find some reason for her suffering. Several readers have reached out to me, grateful to me for sharing with them her story. There is comfort in knowing someone shares your pain.
Mother’s Day has evolved for me since I was boy, when I hand-crafted cards for her, a heart-felt sentiment inside written in shaky block letters. When I got older it became a Hallmark day—flowers, brunch, a card with a heart-felt sentiment in a more elegant cursive.
My first Mother’s Day without her, two months after she passed away, was difficult; it was spent with Dad (who is now gone from me, too) and my sister. It made little sense for us to ignore the day. After brunch, while Dad gave me directions, I drove the three of us by the tiny apartment in which they lived for a time after they wed, and where my sister was conceived. Sadly, the building, in a rundown neighborhood, was boarded up. I saw it as a pictogram of the aging process. Heraclitus wrote: “All things flow, nothing abides.”
Each year since has gotten a little easier—several spent with a lady love who was herself a mother and whose mother still lived. But I always saved a moment for a thought of my own mother.
The lady love has moved on from me, and a new one now holds a prominent place in my life; but Mom is still a part of me. I know I’ve disappointed her in many ways, but I hope I’ve made her proud of me, if only in the trying. I’ve tried to live a good life and have, on occasion, failed. Yet we don’t have to let our failures mark us, the labels others place on us rule us. A man’s mettle in the face of adversity, his perseverance in the aftermath of disappointment, is a better measure of whom and what he is.
Each Mother’s Day I remember Mom in my own way, and this year was no different. I have an old photograph of her—sweet 16, a high school graduate, and beautiful, I see in her eyes all the hopes and dreams of youth … destined to one day become my mother.
She who bore me, and now I bear her, her memory as well as her hopes and dreams.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.