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.
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.
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.
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.