Remembrances: Mother's Day
It’s Mother’s Day on Sunday. I hate Mother’s Day. It’s like Hallmark and all the world conspire to remind me that I’m a kid without a mother.
It’s a matter of my life now. It just is what it is, and nothing more, but the hurt’s something that comes up periodically. A smell, a face, a place, a song, a thought, and the sadness comes swirling back on me.
You’d think these years that have passed would somehow dampen the pain. I’d have thought so, too. But it hasn’t and I suppose it never will.
I’m a better person now for having lost her. A better writer, a better friend, a better lover. The empathy it gives you is something one does not acquire without experiences like this.
As much as I love my mother and who she was, I couldn’t go back to the time when she was alive. If I had to choose between being the person I was then, her by my side or living my life without her while being who I am today, I'd stick with the status quo.
Even with the emptiness that finds me from time to time, happiness finds me more often. I’m the happiest I’ve been in my life. Considering the life in question, it’s perhaps not the loftiest of achievements, but I’m confident in my future, and that’s not always something I’ve had the luxury of being.
The year she died was a very, very fucked up time for me. My guilt was a thing of legion then.
It stemmed from a brief moment I’d had months before the diagnosis. It was Thanksgiving and both she and I were across the water at my aunt’s. Conversation was at an easy pace. I was kind of observing more than participating, sitting back, and I glanced at my mother. Suddenly a thought popped in my head: “This is the last Thanksgiving she’ll be with me.”
She would be diagnosed the following February, when a routine hysterectomy revealed a grapefruit-sized tumour and a rare uteran cancer. She'd die on August 6th, 1999, a Friday.
I guess I still feel remorse and guilt today for not having pushed her more when it came to investigating her health. I couldn’t have foreseen the outcome... who could? But I’ve always had a freakishly prescient sense of intuition, and I only wish I’d heeded it more.
With all that guilt and fear strangling me, the only thing I could do to keep myself sane was to douse it all with drugs. I smoked a lot of dope then, and was less equipped to operate on it than I am now. I was distracted and distant in conversations with my mother, because she was always ill, and I regret not taking the time to ask more questions about her life then.
The guilt and regret doesn’t consume me. It’s just there, in the back of my mind, just like my social security number. A part of me now.
There are things I will never forget about her, always love about her, and will strive to keep alive within my own life. All my friends wanted my mom in their life. She was hip. Cool. Smart. Sassy. Strong. Kind. I’d like to think that I truly am my mother’s daughter.
Wherever you are, Mom, have a happy you day.
Funny Mom story: Watching Steve Martin’s “The Jerk” one day when I was 8, there was a joke about a blowjob. Mom howled. I didn’t get it.
“Mom, what’s a blowjob?”
“A blowjob, what is it?”
“Oh, that’s when a woman sucks on a man’s penis, dear.”
“Ew! Why would she want to do that?”
She shrugged and said, “Ah, you got me, sweetie. You got me.”
Her casual nature made me think blowjobs were insane. We went back to the movie, and this time, I got the joke.