I sat next to a lady in a hotel lounge. We were both attending the same program. The program had not started so both of us decided to while away time at the lounge. Something on TV caught our attention and started debating it. For the next thirty minutes or so, we debated on many things and also spoke about other things that we both shared an interest in. We exchanged numbers and continued with our chat on the phone.
At some point, there was nothing more to say. I simply asked; “Tomorrow is mother’s day. What are you going to do for mom? She was silent. She tried to say something then went silent again. She gave a huge sigh of relief then said; “I’m motherless. It’s been like this for the past 4 years.”
Now it was my turn to be silent. I felt I’ve asked a question I needed not to ask. She felt my uneasiness and said; “It’s alright. I’m ok. You asked what you had to ask. It just happened that you asked the wrong person. It’s also an opportunity for me to introduce who my mom was to you.”
At this point, I felt a little bit ok. She was ready to talk. She did. She told me how her mom battled with cancer in the last four years of her life and how she finally gave up one morning. She told me all the suffering her mom went through and how she had to stay with her and witness all the pain her mom went through until death. Then finally she said; “I was 24 when mom died. But the whole experience made me feel like I’ve lived forever.”
I was sad for her. I was moved by her story. I could imagine how it would have been like if I was the one who went through all that. But I wanted to hear more from her. I asked her; “So, on a day like what tomorrow would be—mother’s day, what do you usually do?
And she said these…
#1. Accept Reality
What is the reality? The reality of the matter is this, mom is gone and she’s never going to come back no matter how much I desire to have her back. She lived a life. You look at her children; three boys and one girl. Me. Then you realize she had an amazing life. Before cancer, she was the happy type. She was always positive even when cancer was a raging storm in her life. Somedays you dream. No matter for how long you dream, you’ll come back home. Your mind will finally come to rest on the reality of things. Then you realize you have no option but to accept what is. So you can move on with your life.
#2. Find Joy in something else.
I have joy in my life. I am surrounded by love every day. I have three siblings who have been a pillar in my life. I have an awesome husband who is trying every day to take the place of my mom and then I have Lucy—my little girl who reminds me of myself so much. She sometimes makes me feel I’m my mother and she’s me. I give her all the love my mom gave me. It feels like a role change and I’m enjoying it. These people are what bring me joy. Instead of thinking about the amazing life of my mom and being sorrowful, I think about these people and the amazing friends I have in my life and all sorrows fade away. The death of joy should birth in its place another joy. There shouldn’t be a day in your life that you can’t find something to be joyful about.
#3. Celebrate someone who’s a mother figure in your life
My mother’s role in my life can never be replicated by anyone. It doesn’t also mean some people haven’t treated me as their daughter. Providing all the things my mother would have done for me. When Mom died, another woman took us in and took very good care of us until mom was buried. Even after that, she visited many times to check on us and give us some word of advice. Such woman is a mother figure to me. And there are a lot of such I celebrate during mother’s day and every other day. I celebrate their kindness. I celebrate their care in my life and I celebrate the ground they provided for me to be rooted in. Sometimes, biology feels wrong. One of such times is when someone does everything for you. Then biology says she can’t be your mother. Because she didn’t give birth to you.
#4. Be Grateful for life
I’m grateful for who I’ve become even without a mother to steer the ship of my life. I’m not everything I want to be now but I know if mom was here, she wouldn’t have been disappointed in whom I’ve become. For that, I’m grateful. I wake up each day and I’m grateful I’m alive to see my kid grow and I’m happy for the family I’ve been able to raise for myself. Sometimes, I’m even grateful for death. It took my mom out of her misery and sufferings.
#5. Avoid social media
As crazy as it sounds, I avoid social media on mother’s day. The messages people send there, the stories people write about their mothers get to me. It puts me in a very uncomfortable situation. I used to do it. I used to say all the beautiful things to mom there while she was alive. Now I say them in my heart and just wish she hears me.
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