This past weekend marked another Mother’s Day. It marked the fourth one for me without a mother of my own.
I thought about last Mother’s Day when my family and I sat around discussing biopsy results, BRCA tests and upcoming surgeries. There were still so many questions without answers.
We took pictures in front of a blooming crab apple tree (not blooming yet this year!) and smiled as if it was just another Mother’s Day. I watched my kids drive off and envied them for being able to “drive away from cancer.”
I observed boats driving by on our little lake and thought about other families celebrating Mother’s Day without cancer.
My husband and I attended a concert my youngest son was singing in and I sat there pretending everything was alright. I sat there trying to act normal, just being a mother listening to her son sing.
This Mother’s Day I thought about how much I have missed my mother this past year. Her presence in my life has been missed even more since my cancer diagnosis.
My mother was the great communicator of the family. My mother always knew what to say.
Even now, she would know things to say to make me feel better. She would be calling to see how I am doing. She would feel my pain and understand my fears, even if she had not had breast cancer herself.
My mother would have understood about the ache I sometimes felt deep within and about the terror of facing life without breasts, or hair, or worse…
She would have understood what it felt like to be a woman living on the edge unable to stop thoughts about dying from simmering during the wee hours of the night. She would have understood why I cried sometimes without even knowing the reason for my tears. She would not have cared if I was irritable, blotchy-faced or just plain unpleasant to be around. She would not have thought such things were even odd.
She would have loved me and understood because that’s what mothers do.
I wish I could have a day or even an hour to spend with her now. I would tell her I am sorry for not listening to her more attentively about her fears when she had cancer.
I would ask her for advice on how to get through the dark moments that still come; the moments when I feel most vulnerable, overwhelmed or frightened.
I sometimes wonder if she watches over me from heaven and I know that if she does, her heart has ached for me this past year, even in heaven.
Jody, one of my blogging friends from Women With Cancer, recently commented, “My mother was already gone when I (Jody) was diagnosed and I am grateful to have spared her that.” I hadn’t thought of things that way before. It’s a much less selfish way to look at it. It’s a far more comforting way to acknowledge my mom’s absence from my life this past year. Thanks Jody.
My heart aches for families that lose mothers when the mothers are way too young to be lost. A young mother among my husband’s relatives was lost to breast cancer mere days ago. I think about things her children will miss. I wonder what their Mother’s Day was like.
I remember Sarah, The Carcinista,who I only knew via her “snarky” blog, so full of attitude and spunk; so full of life. Sadly, Sarah died last Tuesday from ovarian cancer after halting treatment, after saying enough, after deciding she didn’t want to be sick anymore more from treatments that weren’t working anyway, after deciding she just wanted to be a mom to her two boys for whatever time she had left.
Again, I can’t help but wonder what their Mother’s Day was like.
An incredibly moving post to read about Mother’s Day called, “When Mother’s Day Hurts,” comes from Marie, my friend from Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer. Marie writes poignantly about a different take on Mother’s Day. I hope you’ll check it out if you haven’t yet. You won’t soon forget Marie’s words.
So mostly what I am is thankful for all the years I had a mother and for all the memories I still have.
And, of course, I’m thankful for getting to be a mother to three great kids as well!
I hope everyone had a pleasant Mother’s Day, whether you still have a mother or not.
How did you spend Mother’s Day (on Sunday or when you were growing up)?
What is a favorite memory you have of your mother or grandmother?