My mother’s laughter

Today is Mother’s Day in North America.  It has a strange place in my awareness and I usually feel in a sort of limbo on this day.  I am not a mother and my own mother died 34 years ago, when I was sixteen.  In addition, I live in the UK, which celebrates Mothering Sunday sometime in March.  It’s a bit like Guy Fawke’s Day or Remembrance Day, on my radar, but not part of my history.  I’m aware of it and sign a card which my husband and I send to his Mum, but as much as I esteem her, she and the day are just not a part of my bloodstream.

I never know how to act or even how I feel about Mother’s Day.  I usually ignore it and just acknowledge, somewhat, that I no longer have a mother and feel sad, then get on with it.  When my Mom died, we didn’t have a funeral or memorial service.  I know the date of her death, January 20th, 1980, but because we never had a ritual or ceremony, her death has lain heavy as a stone in my soul, carried with me for many years.  I do however, quietly, observe the day of her death, in a way which is meaningful to me.

This morning I remembered Mother’s Day when  posts from my American Facebook friends and relations appeared on their walls.   I don’t have very many photos of the two of us together, but this one was taken when I was about 2.  She was 42.

my mother1

I wish she could have been as happy as she looks here for much more of her life. When I’ve met relatives who knew my Mom when she was a young women they always remark that she had a wonderful laugh.  My memories of her are overlaid with a veil of sadness, there were more tears and worry than laughter.  The overwhelming sense that I have of her is of  a Free Spirit wrestling with a Troubled Soul, trapped in a life she didn’t know how to make better.

my mother4

Today I planted a rose in our front garden, for Mother’s Day, in memory of my mom Nell Rose Martin. I had decided to do this several months ago and today was just the right time. It felt like rolling the stone of grief away.

my mother2

my mother3

I bought a bunch of roses for the house and Steve and I made brunch and drank a toast to Nell.  Even though I can not send a card to my Mom or call her up up on the phone, I can still celebrate the person I knew her to be, and be grateful for the life she gave to me and for the 16 years that I knew her.  I am happy that I have a lot of joy and laughter in my life.  I think that would make my Mom happy too.



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