05/07/2015 04:28 pm ET Updated May 07, 2016

A Mother's Day Without Mom


It's been eight years since the last Mother's Day I spent with my Mom. I remember bringing her a box of Godiva Chocolates that I knew she would be too sick to eat. I didn't know what to get her, I just wanted it to be a normal day. We all knew she was dying. What do you buy for the dying?

I kept the ribbon that was on the box that day. I put it away for safe keeping. I don't know why I did that; I think my subconscious knew that I would want to have something tangible later. It has a place of honor amongst my other treasures. Every now and again, I take out that blue ribbon, now faded with the passage of time, and hold it in my fingers. It's the only part of her that can be there for me now.

Surviving these last eight years has not been easy. I know she's watched from above and smacked me on the head dozens of times. She's cheered my successes and wept for my failures. Only my Mom knows the bitterness I carry in my heart, the anger and the fear. She carried the burden of it until she couldn't carry it anymore. Yet, even in death, she's been a comfort to me in times when I thought I could not carry on. How do I know this? It's because I'm a mom now too.

Being a mom, I know that death does not sever the bond. I know that death would never keep me from being there for my children. They would feel me, like I feel her in every scent, song, tradition, saying and picture that reminds me that her spirit still surrounds me. They would know I still share their pains with them and that they never walk alone.

I wish she could have met my children. I wonder every day what that would have been like. Every time they do something, I wish I could call her up and tell her. I hope she knows the anger and resentment that I carry is not her fault. I know it's just the card that she was dealt but it's a shitty card, Cancer, and it's a card that I worry about every day.

I'm sorry I don't visit her grave as much as I think I should. I just can't bring myself to go there, being there makes it tangible and real, something that I can ignore otherwise because I'm chasing kids around all day. I can go about life until I'm forced to remember what we never got to have, the moments a mother and daughter share when the child becomes a parent. I'll never complain to her about my kids and have her tell me they're exactly like me. I'll never hear her laugh when my daughter does something that I did as a child and it infuriates me. Most of all, I'll never get to hear her say, "You're a good mom, I'm proud of you." Even as an adult, we still want to make our mothers proud.

On this Mother's Day, I'll celebrate it with my children and I'll remind my friends be grateful. She may be a nag, she may be annoying but she's your Mother and you never know how much you'll miss her, until she's gone.