Celebrating Mother’s Day Without Your Mother

Mother’s Day has always been a special day as it often fell on my mother‘s birthday. She was a difficult person to give presents to, as she had exquisite taste, an edited collection of well-made clothes, didn’t really wear jewelry, and so on. So presents were more meaningful experiences instead of just “things.” It was a good lesson to learn, and one that I put into practice today.

One of the most successful gifts I ever gave her became one of my favorite memories of time with just the two of us. She loved Fleetwood Mac, and when she turned fifty they happened to be playing near us on her birthday–also Mother’s Day, that year. I bought us two tickets and off we went. Listening to some of our favorite songs together–Landslide, Sara, and The Chain, among many others–was incredible. She had never seen them in concert before so it was extra special for both of us. For the rest of her life, any time we were out and Fleetwood Mac came on, she would tell whoever she was with how we went together.

It’s a hard day to be without a mother, even though every day is hard. She was such a funny person, a truly gracious woman who never complained, a strong woman, a wonderful mother. I wonder every day what she would have been like as a grandmother. It’s easy to remember bigger things about her, but every day I feel like I lose more of the little things about her. I find myself wondering what her response to a question would be rather than knowing it. It’s hard to remember her scent and how her voice sounded; how it felt to hug her. It’s hard not to regret how many days I didn’t spend with her, although we talked just about every day. And, of course, it’s so difficult to know she wasn’t at so many big moments of my life–my wedding, the birth of my child–and know she never had a chance to meet her grandchild.

It’s easier to write about smaller things–remembering my mother through her clothes, or landmarks, for instance, than to write about the huge hole that is left in my life, our lives, without her. But I want to try, though I’m not sure this does anything justice. I hope she knows that I’m thinking about her every day.

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