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5 Questions I Would Ask My Mom

Posted by admin on July 4, 2017 in Motherless Mom |

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My nine-year-old daughter just put me through an interview. She asked questions about my favorite movies and favorite foods. I was delighted to answer every question. Her curiosity shows off her brilliant mind.

 

I only knew my mom for ten years. Without a doubt, I know what I would ask her today.

 

Mom, here are five questions I will ask you in an interview:

 

  1. Besides being a teacher, what else did you want to be?
  2. Did you want to be a mom?
  3. How was my birth, really?
  4. What were you trying to tell me on the day you died?
  5. How am I doing as a mom for your grandchildren?

 

I know it will be many years before I can hear your answers. I feel like I know some of them already based on how much you love me.

 

What would you ask your loved one in an interview? Ask them anything.

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Grief Without Borders/Thank you, from Canada

Posted by admin on July 4, 2017 in Motherless Mom |

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It is 2018. Many fellow Canadians are opting to not travel to the United States because of the current political climate. I can’t help to think of the American experience we had in 2013. It was the first Family Day here in my province. And we had to leave our country for the day.

My husband rolled down his window as the car drove up. I handed all of our IDs to him, fanned out to be make easier for the border guard.

“What is your purpose for entering the United States today?” he asked.

After a long night planning to make sure we had everything, and the extra bag for our kiddo with special needs, I couldn’t believe how we made good time to get to the border. I wished it were for a better reason.

“To attend my wife’s uncle’s funeral.” My husband replied.

The guards looked at all of us dressed in our formal wear in the early hours of a Monday morning. He glanced briefly at each of our pieces of identification. As he handed them back , he informed us that we only needed one piece of id per person to cross the border by car.

“I’m sorry for your loss. Hope the next visit will be for better reasons.” He concluded

We thanked him and drove away. I was so grateful that there weren’t no issues. We were early by the time we got near the church, so we stopped at the local Starbucks. We could stretch our legs and snack up. I lined up to place our drink orders as hubby spread out snacks from home for the kids.

I got to the counter and told the barista our order. She asked what we were doing today since we were all dressed up. I told her. Her face fell.

“I am so sorry for your loss. The coffees are on us today.”

I couldn’t reply, the tears bubbled in my throat. I was overwhelmed by the kindness we were shown from strangers. It is only 10:30am!

We arrived at the church with ten minutes to spare. My husband stayed with our youngest because she likes to roam. Our older daughter joined me to honor my uncle. She wrote in my notebook as we sat near his casket. At the reception, many people from my aunt and uncle’s church community had come up to me and complimented how my oldest had behaved during the service. It amazed me how much kindness could surround grief.

As the reception wound down, it was announced where the vehicle procession to his final resting place would begin. We joined the line in the adjacent parking lot, and was the last car. As the cars started their engines, we did too. A State Patrol man on a motorcycle had fallen in behind us with its lights blazing. As we proceeded through the streets and ran red lights with the escort, I was awestruck at how many cars pulled to the side, and some pedestrians took off their hats and put their hands to their hearts. They didn’t even know my uncle, yet they showed their respect to our grief. He wasn’t a celebrity and was important to so many that loved him.

I have been to multiple funerals here in Canada. We never had the support of the RCMP to make sure all those mourners could make it to the gravesite. Nor were those who passed on treated by passerby with such dignity like we had seen for my uncle.

It has been 4 years since that day. While it was sad for our family, it also showed how grief has no borders. We were treated without judgment or prejudice because of where we were. We were treated with kindness and empathy. From the border guard, to the police officer escort to the cemetery, we felt enveloped in the kindness that is America.

 

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The Wind of Autism

Posted by admin on March 27, 2017 in Motherless Mom |

Like a sunrise I didn’t know I needed,
you marched into our life to make your claim.
Your silent words I should have heeded,
delays past milestones, red-flags everywhere.
Your eyes expressed when words failed.
The simplest thing could trigger a storm.
I pulled every trick I could until you sailed
back to the moment, back to me.

As my heart aches, helpless to you.
You wrap your arms around my neck
Thaws my winter chill, I feel anew
Ready once again, to chase your seasons.

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My Writing Life: Mom Edition

Posted by admin on March 19, 2017 in Motherless Mom |

 

img_0152You can’t edit a blank page, just like you can’t make a kid take a nap.

When my oldest was a baby, inspiration hit me to write a children’s book for her. Our oldest cat was getting on in age. I was afraid she wouldn’t know him as she grew up. One day while she napped in my arms, I grabbed a crayon and wrote the outline on the back of the cable bill envelope in 30 minutes.

I had self-published Harley Finds His Family and Harley as a gift for my baby. Those books sparked my writing cravings ever since I was in high school. I loved Creative Writing as a kid. Life has now taken me far away from it.

During her naps, I realized I should keep a notebook and pen around for ideas in between Mommy and Me classes, diaper changes and feedings. I also wrote in a journal to give to her one day.

Just as I hit my stride with my vice, I was pregnant again. In between all the interruptions, I kept dusting notebooks with my ideas. When I dove into the world of blogging and was published, I knew I found a sweet haven where I could be a wife, a mom, and me all in one place.

My books were read by many, including celebrities.

After having multiple articles published online, I began to submit for anthologies. If anything, I would have great stories to leave for my kids in case I had the same fate as my mom. She died when I was ten years old. I didn’t know any of her stories.

I will admit that I got a charge to see my name in print. Writing my stories of what I had been through was validating. I always hoped that there might be one reader who saw themselves through my words.

I was ready to quit writing many times. The last time just as I was about to delete my blog, a reader emailed me. In the message she said how grateful she was for the honesty of my pain. She said she didn’t feel alone by reading my words. Fueled by her reaching out, I kept writing. It became larger than me.

My health took a bad turn a few years ago. I turned to reading books rather than writing for publication. I wrote in journals using my favorite pen. I wrote in hospital waiting rooms. I wrote while watching my kids play in the backyard, at 3am because I couldn’t sleep, and when I knew I couldn’t block my thoughts.

It was during those stolen moments that I realized I have always been a writer. I write to find my voice. It is the cheapest therapy in a place where it doesn’t ask for more goldfish crackers or has meltdowns .

There may be weeks that slip by without writing. It is always lingering under my skin. I crave it now like I used to crave chocolate. I might not get it everyday, but when I do, it is well worth the wait.

 

 

 

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Thank you, Mr. Vint

Posted by admin on March 8, 2017 in Motherless Mom |

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Snuggled on the couch with photo albums spread out, my kids ask again for stories about when I was in school. It is the end of the current school year. We are chatting about the good memories of the year. My kids are amazed that there was life before them.

“Who was your favorite teacher ever, Mom?” My nine-year old asks.

I smile at the question. There is no doubt how I will answer.

“That’s easy. It was Mr. Vint, my high school drama teacher. “

It may have been 26 years ago, but I can still hear his laughter in the theatre. I had taken his class as part of my first semester in Grade 11. His reputation was famous in our town. Colin Vint is not only the fun acting teacher, but a real actor too. He has done many shows that are filmed a few towns away. Mr. Vint is the closest thing to Hollywood around.

From the first moment he spoke in class, I was mesmerized. He projected his voice all over the theatre. There was a sense of magic in the air by being in that environment. Everything that hurt me was left by the door. I can escape into whatever character he directed me to play.

Until that one monologue.

I scoured books in the library and the local bookstore. One afternoon I snuck on the bus to go downtown to check out the main library. I found the perfect monologue. It resonated with me. I know the character because it is in my soul. Not only was I going to perform circles around my classmates, I was going to get an A for it.

The day arrived to perform it. Mr. Vint called my name and I took my place on stage. I heard the whispers from the mean girls and I muted them out. I breathed in my nervous breath and out the negative energy.

I began.

“ Do you remember, Mama? I love you and you love me. And what went wrong..” I couldn’t speak anymore. All the air left me and my face became wet. I leaned my head over my knees because I thought I was going to faint. A hand on my shoulder snapped me back into reality.

Mr. Vint guided me up and down the stairs into his office. As we walked he told the class to take 5. That is acting speak to take a break.

After sitting me down in the spare chair, Mr. Vint filled a cup of water and handed it to me. I gulped it fast. I have no idea what made me snap. He went to his phone and tapped a few buttons. I couldn’t hear what was said.

“ Do you need more time?” he gently said.

I shook my head as the office door opened. It was the school counselor, Mr. Crampton. Everyone called him Alf. The two men stood by the door in stage whispers.

Mr. Crampton leaned beside my chair and asked if I wanted to come to his office to take a break. Nodding, I drifted to his office.

With the door to his office closed, I began to cry again. All he did was push the tissue box across his desk to me and waited.

Without heisitation, I begand to tell my truth. I told of the immense loss of my mom, the verbal and physical abuse and the hell that is now in my house. I did not leave anything unturned.

Mr. Crampton nodded and told me I did the right thing. He told me to wait in the hall as he made a few phone calls. Then, he said I can go and that his door is open anytime.

When I arrived home, I was met with my dad and stepmom. It was odd because they were supposed to be working. My feet felt like cement as they sat me down to talk. They had received the call from Mr. Crampton. My heart began to pound so loud I thought they could hear it. I could not tell how that conversation went. I thought that I would be dead or kicked out.

As the fear dispitated, I realized they told me that they were worried about me. They made an appointment with a psychologist to get answers. I was dumbfounded. I had no idea how this would play out.

Over the next two weeks I saw the professional that they arranged. I told him the same thing that I told Mr. Crampton. Dr. Golden asked how old I am. When I told him, he smiled. He informed me that legally I didn’t have to live at home anymore. I was shocked. There is light after all. Only, I didn’t know what that looked like.

One week later, my fairy godmother called to check in. I moved in with her a few days later.

 

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Why Did She?

Posted by admin on February 10, 2017 in Motherless Mom, YAFiction |

I hate her. There, I said it, or at least in my head. She was supposed to come home today. All those medical talking heads said August 15 would be the date. Adults are liars, even grandma and grandpa. They say we get extra time at their house. Are you serious? I’m supposed to be at home in my own bed tonight!

Grandma has to stop for groceries on the way back to Vancouver, where we spent most of our summer. This is not fair! Stupidest summer ever. We are told we can wash up and get ready for dinner when we arrive. Grandma opens the door, my nose wants to throw up and never smell again. It’s Grandma’s rubbery ham. I walk into their kitchen and see the pale pink blob in the oven. The frame of pumpkin colored carrots and translucent potatoes highlight the big. After I put my napkin over the pink flesh and a mix of white potatoes and the radioactive carrots, Grandpa tells me that we are going to his sister’s house tomorrow. I tell him we need back-to-school clothes still. I am rebuffed.

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We have to play cards at my great aunt’s tomorrow. Cards are as fun as it sounds for any 10-year-old. The tea in the fancy cups is cool, along with the tiny sandwiches with the crust cut off. I just suck at old lady games. The day passed into a blur of old people stuff. Finally it is time for me to plan the perfect pre-night braces meal.

I wonder if I should call dad to see if he can pick me up to take me to Big Scoop. Both mom and dad promised me I could have whatever I wanted the last meal before I got braces. I can picture the three-scoop ice cream sundae covered with hot fudge sauce and lots and lots of nuts. Maybe I can ask if they could put extra whip cream on because of the occasion.

By noon I wonder if I should call dad or mention it to Grandpa that I need to go for my ice cream dinner. After I help Grandma with the lunch dishes, the phone in the hallway rings. She ends up closing the door to the hallway after she answers the call. I don’t think anything of it and just go to the TV Room to read my book. I hear Grandma and Grandpa talking at the front of the house. I take a book break and ask what is going on. They say mom is coming home today. So we will be going home tomorrow morning. I stutter but.. but… but in my head. I find my voice.

“But I’m supposed to go for my big sundae. I’m getting braces tomorrow. They promised me a good size treat!”

Grandma and Grandpa look at each other and said maybe there will be time to go out for ice cream after dinner. I feel like my head is going to explode with all the blood rushing up to it. I race upstairs to the room I use. I can’t believe it. I scream into the pillow. I hate this house. I want my own house!

I should runaway. I should’ve demanded to talk to dad. I wait upstairs for as long as I can until I’m told I have to help with dinner. We’re having roast beef. Gross. I think when I grow up I want to be a vegetarian. I push around the food as much as I can and ask to be excused. I hide my food under the napkin and dump it in the garbage right away. Grandpa says hurry up so we can go out and get a scoop of vanilla ice cream at McDonald’s. So, not the same. I know he’s trying. They always forget about me. Like, did she have to come home today? I despise her. I know I’m not supposed to hate, but this has been the stupidest, dumbest summer ever.

We go out for ice cream anyways. When we get back to the house I ask if I can go to bed early. I pack up what I can so that way we can be ready in the morning. My head hits the pillow. Before I know it, the sun is already creeping out from the blinds. I don’t even know what to think, will I be here again or get to home. I give up hoping. I hear grandma’s voice calling up that it’s time for breakfast, and then we have to go. I am actually going home.

It turns out that we won’t be going home before my braces appointment. Dad is meeting us there. I don’t know if I even want to talk to mom anymore. I probably won’t be able to talk later because of a mouthful metal. But, at least I get to go home today. My own bed. My own clothes. My own records. Maybe back to skating?

The appointment took a long time. But at least I got to look out at my hometown through the office window. Dad picks me up. He tells me we have to go home really quietly as mom is already sleeping. Our dog is napping when we walk through the door. I can barely talk, so I don’t even bother. I keep mopping up the drool from having my mouth open for so long.

She sleeps so long that I go to bed before she wakes up. For the first time in almost 2 months, all four of us are actually under the same roof. But it’s like she hasn’t come home yet.

It is a week later and school has already started. Nothing has changed at home. I still take care of my sister. I continue to have no life. I didn’t want to get braces, but at least the kids were kind about it. I can’t eat a lot of the gross meaty things now so that’s good. No more celery or broccoli, or it has to be complete mush.

In two weeks time I have the first skating performance of the season. I wonder if mom will be well enough to come see it or help me with my costume. Dad doesn’t know how to sew and neither do I. But mom at least could patch things up. She continues to be in her room a lot. Sometimes I hear the TV. Sometimes I was allowed to go in and say hi. She’s a quarter of the mom she used to be. I hate cancer. I really hate it.

On the day of the performance, I get everything ready and I sneak into mom’s room to grab her pretty sparkling little purse that she lets me use sometimes for special occasions. I want to look good. Plus it matches my costume. Mom is sleeping. I quietly go in and get it. I’ll tell her later that I took it.

I say goodbye to my sister and dad. Of course mom didn’t make it. But apparently we’re going to pick her up afterwards. Dad says he’s going to take everybody out for McDonald’s after the performance. He brought his cameras to take a lot of pictures. I go off to the dressing room to meet with my coach. There’s one thing I really love, and that is to skate. When I’m on the ice is just me and the music. No cancer, no mom problems, or sister problems. Just the ice and my body. There is nothing else like it. I don’t know how much longer I’m going to be allowed to skate. I know it’s expensive. Plus, Grade 6 homework comes home every day.

I begin to stretch and warm up in the dressing room before it’s my turn to skate. I’m feeling pretty good now. Then I feel a rip in my arm. Somehow I managed to rip the armhole on my right side of my costume. It looks awful. Then I get angry all over again. Mom should’ve been here. Mom should’ve been here with the sewing kit. Only moms are allowed in the dressing rooms with us. No males.

”You need help?” An angelic voice interrupts my anger. I look over. It is my skating club friend and her mom shadowing over me under the fluorescent dressing room light. Jean’s mom had a sewing kit and stitched me up while I was stood in front of her. Done. She takes my hand and whirls me around in a slow dance. I hug her my thanks.

My name is called. I feel excited again and at the same time calm. I slip off my pink skate guards and place them under my cubby. I will be awesome. I can do this. Somehow my legs take me to my mark on the ice. The arena is silent. And I’m off.

I blink and we are in the car on the way home. My cheek still feels the burn from the cold ice, rosy with happiness. I knew I wouldn’t win. Mom taught me that it’s about the journey not the ending.

It is months later from that beautiful skate. School is going great. Skating will end for the season soon. I’m allowed to go to the mall with friends. The dismissal bell rings. I grab my backpack from the locker and head home. It is a short walk. I put the key in the front door and let myself in. Not everyone has a key for their house at my age. Mom still naps a lot so I could be waiting a long time for her to open the door. I listen if the house is quiet. I slip off my shoes, skip up the steps, and I drop my backpack on the living room floor. I tiptoe into the kitchen. I open the fridge and grab the orange juice container, place it on the counter, and get a glass from the dish strainer. I guess dad was able to wash the breakfast dishes this morning. Cool. It was my turn.

“Where is my silver purse?” I almost drop the glass. My mom is in the doorway wrapped in her red robe. She’s looking at me funny.

“Mom, you scared me. How are you today?” She tells me to find it now tone of voice I’ve never heard before. She turns and goes back into her room. The door slam that followed shook the entire house. I leave my juice to tiptoe to my room. I trash my room looking for it. Crap.

I lost it. I can’t even leave this room again. I wipe my tears and put on my headphones. I turn on my record player and grab my journal. I need to remember how to breathe again. My inner Harriet the Spy finds the answer to my turmoil. I turn up the music, grab a pen with my journal, and go in my closet to sit on the floor to write. This is my safe place. Closing the door is the most magical thing. I am alone.

The door opens. Without looking up I scream, “Go away.” The light from my room reveals my skating friend standing high above me. In her right hand is my mom’s purse. The one I lost.

It is like being stuck in a traffic jam and all of a sudden the road is clear, and I am all alone. I can’t get up. The room is spinning. I’m not 10 years old anymore. I am 15. My skating friend is not my friend, she’s my stepsister. Her mom is my stepmom. My Mom didn’t come home on August 15. She never came home at all. She was supposed to be here.

The purse is one of the few things I have of hers. If mom didn’t die I would have gotten to have that argument with her.

I miss her.

 

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When You are Ready to Quit: Don’t

Posted by admin on February 4, 2017 in Motherless Mom |

 

My tunnel vision sharpens, my eyes are focused on my MacBook screen. The message stares at me without blinking. I have read it a possible few hundred times. I swallow in attempts to quench my parched throat. My voice echoes the message.

“ Thank you for writing about what I have been thinking… None of my friends understand what I am feeling.”

My hands are shaking over the keyboard. I blink away the tears that creep up in the corners. I am shocked, stunned and humbled all in one moment.

24 hours ago, I was one click away from deactivating my blog.

After my health challenges in the past 2 years, keeping the blog updated was the last priority on my to-do list. I started my blog as therapy for myself, as a way to deal with the residual feelings of grief for my mother.

I almost quit, thinking that no one would notice.

Someone did.

Thank you, Dear Reader for reaching out to me.

I won’t quit. I am here.

I am not alone. You are not alone.

 

 

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My Autism Confession

Posted by admin on January 15, 2017 in Motherless Mom |

It is 3:45 am according to my ancient clock radio. My youngest daughter drags my right hand to pull me out of bed. She leads me to the gate at the top of the stairs indicating she wants to go downstairs. I slide on my eyeglasses to see as we try to sneak downstairs to not wake the other members of our family. In the dimly lit living room I struggle to keep my eyes open, to keep her safe and hopefully wear her out to go back to sleep. Without an eye on the time, eventually she stretches out on the couch. I try to get comfortable in the chair near her. Just as soon as I rest my eyes I hear my husband moving upstairs in our room. I check the clock, with a heavy sigh I realize he is up for work. The day begins with me in slow motion.

Shortly after he comes down the stairs, our oldest bounds down wide awake. After he leaves, my youngest is still awake. I realize that I need to do something desperate for her to sleep before our morning activities. Despite my exhausted self, I pack up my girls in the car in hopes a long drive will help make her nap. In three hours we are expected at a medal ceremony at the local library for the Summer Reading Club. My oldest has been looking forward to this all year. There is no way I am going to miss that for her. If I wasn’t so tired I would be angry at the situation. In a ‘regular world’ there would be a grandma on call to do this so I could cat nap. Autism robs my brain and energy again.

I never asked to be a mom. Years of not trying to be a parent lulled me into a sense of child-less security. Because of my medical issues (endometriosis) it was presumed that I could not conceive. In fact, three doctors confirmed it. To the date three months later my first daughter was conceived.

I delivered a beautiful baby girl. As she grew older, hitting her milestones, I became relieved. She is on her way. She never crawled though. She ran the week after her first birthday; all the while talking a million miles a minute.

Months later when she was 14 months old, I was stunned again that I was pregnant. I even went to the store in my pjs to confirm the test three times.

This pregnancy was not like the last one. The morning sickness was awful. I began to lost weight so I needed to take Diclectin to start gaining weight. I took my iron and other supplements the doctor instructed me to do. The rest of the pregnancy dragged on as I tried to keep up with a fast toddler.

Then the 28th week of pregnancy hit as my belly measure 8 inches longer than it should have been. They questioned me if I was sure of the date. I assured them I knew. Through ultrasounds with a specialist it showed that my baby was breech and practically standing in my womb. The baby was also going to be big according to the scan. So a C-section was scheduled.

I know I have a lot to be grateful for: healthy family albeit autism, my sister lives close and I have a writing career I love. The ‘experts’ keep going on and on about the importance of sleep. Well, that is great and all, but what happens if it is beyond your control.

Within minutes of our drive, my oldest girl tells me her sister is asleep. I tuck the car into a drive-thru line-up. In the rear-view mirror I see my five-year-Old’s eyes light up. I order our food and park under the shade of a tree. I leave music on and begin to have a breakfast car picnic with my first baby. She states that this is the best fun ever. With those precious words I slip out of my self-pity baggage. I did what I could do and ended up making a special summer memory for the two of us.

The following week my legs are splayed over the coffee table. I reach over to my abandoned coffee cup. I carefully take a sip to only find out it has gone cold. With a big sigh I get off the couch to dump the remains into the sink. I step aside my three-year-old daughter who is racing around the dining room and into the living room. Her Santa hat goes flying in the air as she turns the corner.

I refill my coffee cup and amble to sit down again. We had just returned from a doctor’s appointment after dropping my oldest daughter off at kindergarten. My youngest is beginning the steps to have therapy to help her autistic behaviours. She was also up very early this morning. The weight of the sleep and stress exhaustion makes me grumpy. I kick a toy to the side and sit down again.

For the past year I have witnessed my girl grow slowly through the development milestones. Her speech is also delayed. We began the search for the right programs and therapies after the assessments that diagnosed her with ASD (autism spectrum disorder.) For some reason she is deciding sleep is not an option lately. The constricting guilt of if I am at fault as to why she received the label keeps me up at night. I wonder if it had to be me being put under for her birth. The planned caesarean was hampered by my back not able to receive the spinal tap or epidural. Her big size didn’t help. I wonder if I didn’t eat something I should have while pregnant. I had seven months of morning sickness while pregnant with her. And once again, like a million times before, when I start going down this road I cry.

I hear her giggle bounce off the walls as she rounds the corner to run through the rooms. Her senses love certain textures and movement. So she is wearing her Santa hat and a ballet tutu for the sixth day in a row. Since she is three, we allow her the happiness the ensemble gives her. When she is sixteen it might not look so ‘normal’ at school. She runs around again only this time to barrel towards me. I open my arms to receive the biggest bear hug. Her hat comes loose. She hands it to me so I can put it back on. She bounces up again and is off. My guilty reverie fades as her hug reminds me of one thing, she is my daughter. I am lucky to be her mom. She is the present I did not know our family needed.

 

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A Mother Is

Posted by admin on December 11, 2016 in Motherless Mom |

A mother is unconditional in her love

I learned that with my mother.

A mother is patient

I learned that from my mother

 

A mother is sharing anything she has

I learned that from my mother

A mother is always there to listen

I learned that from my mother

 

A mother is there when I shed a tear

I learned that when my mother was gone.

A mother is in my daughters

I gave that to my mother.

 

I would give every penny I ever had since you died 32 years ago so I could have 5 more minutes with you. I hope you are enjoying your grandchildren wherever you are.

 

Love you and miss you every hour.

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I Like Being Motherless

Posted by admin on November 29, 2016 in Motherless Mom |

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Unbelievable. I discover myself standing in the kitchen not being able to move. I came back from serving my girls their breakfast. We are having a great chat when I went to put the milk away. The fridge handle feels hot under my right hand and my left is cold by the half-full milk jug. My heart is still. The calendar is at eye-level glaring today’s date. I have always known this day comes every year. I began today feeling perfectly okay for the first time before I knew what today really was. Stunned, I can’t believe it has been 30 years ago today that my mom died. For the first time in all those anniversaries, today is the first time I didn’t spend the morning crying.

I always hated the term ‘motherless’ ever since I saw Bambi’s mother got shot in the first minutes of the film. You knew it happened, but it still tore the heart. It reminds me of what I’ve been missing since I was 10 years old. My mom died of breast cancer at the age of 38 years old. My sister was only eight years old. My childhood ended that day.

Two weeks after she died, school started. As we walked to class it felt like there was an arrow sign above our heads announcing ‘Motherless Kids Coming Through.’ Kids would stop talking when I went to the gym or step up to wait my turn on the swings. I felt like a circus act when I would get to my desk, to the library and to play at recess. The only time I felt normal was when I was the first one home after school. My sister would come home a bit later, after she finished her fourth grade after school activities. I had a brief precious half hour to myself. I could pretend that life was okay for that short time. I walked through every room remembering mom in the living room or eating breakfast at the kitchen table. I never went to her bedroom. It is too hard to remember her there. Her stuff cleaned out days after she died. The only smell my nose recalls is her perfume, Chanel Number 5. The magic spell ended the minute I heard the front door open.

Friends would corner me in the playground by the hopscotch over the next month to tell me how they found out about the news my mom died. They would go on and on about how they felt and how they would hate to lose their moms.

Over the next few years were dark, going through the beginning of teenage hood without my mom was very hard. Sure, there were nannies and the stepmother, but it wasn’t the same. No matter what others told me, I always wondered what mom would have said.

When I got married, being motherless had grown into a thorn in my heart. After all the heartbreak, I don’t want to have kids. I can’t do that my potential children. Cancer took a lot of family from us too early. I also had endometriosis, which meant I couldn’t have conceived naturally. I was okay with that. There are many childless parents out there who deserve to find their children. My two girls changed that plan.

The minute the doctor confirm my pregnancy, my first, I was wrapped in fear. I took all the recommended precautions to make sure I would give birth to a very healthy baby. I took my grief it became motivated to be the best mom I could for my child, like mom did for me. I didn’t know what else to do to care for my baby, other than the books I devoured. When my first baby arrived the motherless grief return instantly. I had trouble breast-feeding. The baby would cry and cry. I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t hear my mother’s voice anymore.

I became what is known as a helicopter parent before it was a label. I began to focus every ounce of energy for my baby. Every cry, every request and every wail, I am there at all hours of the day and night, whatever she needed. I know every breath, every giggle and every precious moment. I am all too aware how painful it is to want your mom, I will never let my child know that heartache.

On the good days, I do not hate being motherless anymore, I am going to do what Bambi did and move forward. But if I had that other life, one with her in it, would have I have met my children, I wonder. I might not have my stories, but I am making my own daughters by being here to live them together.

“MOM!!!” My thoughts are interrupted by my seven-year-old beauty is yelling from the kitchen table.

I jumped out of my thoughts and answered, “What is up?” My heart starts beating again. The feeling of my legs and voice returns.

She is looking at me with a look of curiosity in her smile. “Close the fridge. You are wasting energy, remember?” I nod as I close the door with a smile on my face, heart and soul. I am able to be the mom that my girls need me to be. I know that my mom was that for me for as long as she could. There is one exemption; I haven’t let my kids see Bambi, yet.

For the three decades that have passed since that ill-fateful day, this is the first time I don’t miss her madly. It occurs to me that she has always been here for every step of the way. All this time I worried about being a mom when the whole time I already had the best mom to model by. She wasn’t the best cook, me either. She wasn’t the best homemaker, ditto. My mom is always there for me, even in death. She is there in my parenting her grandchildren, with unconditional love.

I hug my girls with the familiar arms that I once craved after school or skating practices. I will always miss my mom. I now know that she will always be here. The best way to honor her is by being the mom she was to me. And that sounds like medicine to my healing heart. I didn’t need a parenting book to rely on, I just have my children’s hugs to remind me of what I need.

Being motherless does suck and that is okay to say. Motherless may be what got me here now, but it doesn’t define who I am today.

 

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