I haven’t written specifically about my mom since December 13th – nine days before she died. It was the day after her surgery for a bowel obstruction, and it was the first time in all the years my mom bounced between being really sick and just sick enough to function that we heard words you never want to hear. “Grim”. “Very serious”. “Brutally honest”.
Those are the words that enter my head as I approach the first Mother’s Day I’ll live through without my mom. No flowers to send that she’ll bitch about because they cost too much. No potted gardenia that she’ll bitch about because she’ll kill it. No perfume, no jewelry, no pajamas (which, I think, was the only real gift she ever “let” us give her without complaining about how much it cost or how much she didn’t need them). No mom.
No mom. My father referred to himself as an orphan after the last of his two parents died, and it used to hurt my heart to hear him say it – but my heart is hurt. It was hard enough to lose my dad, but without my mom, I do feel like an orphan – even as a grown woman. There is no one to call when my kids do something amazing. Or amazingly awful. There are no more calls from someone asking me for a recipe for a dish that she taught ME to cook years ago. When work is tough or life feels hard, things only a mom can make seem better, I have to figure out how to get through it without her.
I am celebrating my mom and Mother’s Day by surrounding myself with her favorite people (her grandchildren – she absolutely adored them) and the person who used to refer to himself as her favorite (my husband – she barely tolerated him). I doubt we’ll talk too much about her, because barely five months after she died, it still makes me cry. But on Monday, I’ll know that I survived another first without her. My first Mother’s Day without my Mom. May they get easier from here on out.