Thursday, May 12, 2011

Grief on Mother's Day

I purposely waited almost a week after Mother's Day to write this post because somehow it touches a raw nerve: Having to visit a cemetery to celebrate the day. My Mother was always my champion, background cheerleader, and all round person of wisdom best friend. And, I always experience a sense of sadness when I have to acknowledge the fact that she is no longer in this world. The thought of sharing my progress in dealing with that sadness makes this post very important for me to let anyone else with those feelings know that you do come out on the other side of them.

I always love this picture from when she was a young woman. I say that because she seems so happy and carefree in it. And, I see my sister's face and realize where I got my smile.

I seem to dread going to her grave because somehow in my mind she is still alive and ever with me. Going to the cemetery somehow takes away that illusion but this Mother's Day seemed different.

The difference this time was that I tenderly tended the grave and told her all the family news as I had always done. This time I was amazed that there were no tears but almost a quiet acceptance that this was the way we would have our talks from now until the end of my days.

This time the overwhelming sense of loss did not envelope me to the point of wanting to collapse. It was simply me and her sharing the latest exploits. Me honoring her on Mother's Day, remembering all the secrets we had shared over a lifetime.

I turned around and looked at the flowers on all the other graves and could only hope that people experiencing those same feelings of loss were also able to finally reached this point.

Yes, I know this is my Mother's resting place and as the time has gone by I have been better able to accept the fact that she is no longer physically in my life.

But, I also accept that she lives on in my memory...


  1. Thank you for posting this.. All the blogs on Mother's Day made me wonder about the people who weren't having such a 'happy' one... I for one didn't.. I tried, no, I haven't lost my mother, mine is a different sadness... My two oldest girls did their best and spent the day w/me, we went out to lunch, etc... Minus my son.. My son has a disorder- OCD.. I have tried, even my daughters have tried to get him to try therapy.. hE refuses.. My family therapist says that I can not do anything since he is 20... He is conscious of his repetitious patterns and his attitude is ' this is me'...Combine this w/his wanting to be the male dominant,and lacking ambition, well, u can imagine ... Anyway, I have such a sadness inside.. He has so much potential.. He's very book smart and it seems as tho he rebels against it and goes in the opposite direction...and the fact he has not dealt w/his Dad's death very well....Anyhow, I hope others read your post and realize not everyone has a 'happy' holiday experience.

  2. Chrissy,
    No I can't say that it was 'happy', but more like a quiet acceptance that this is the way things will be. And yet, a rejoicing that the pain I thought would never go away has now subsided and I can deal with the death of my mother on another
    level. I hope you find the same with your son.

  3. I watched Toni Morrison on Oprah.. She talked about the death of her son and how she said she would accept the sadness, that she felt that since he went through the illness, that she could go through the sadness.. I was a little confused.. Because it seemed as tho she did not want to move on.. or is it that she will accept the feelings of his death? I know I have w/the ones that I have lost...I don't think we ever get over the loss, we just learn to deal w/it over time...i guess that's w/anything we have no control over...

  4. chrissy,
    I looked it up and Ms. Morrison's son died in December of last year, less than six months ago,still in the early days of loss. I am certain that the pain of the loss is still quite raw. Dr. Elizabeth Kübler-Ross has written extensively about the stages of death and dying which is a process. We go through the stages, sometimes in no particular order. But from the info you provided I think she is just beginning to recognize the extent of her loss. I know that feeling...

  5. "And death shall have no dominion"... I love this poem by Dylan Thomas because it conveys what I have always deeply felt and believed.
    I lost my mother four years ago and every time I think of her - which is often - I've now come to feel the same inner peace and tenderness and gratitude that you expressed in your post.
    A contemporary French philosopher once wrote (my translation...) : "To love someone is to say : for me, you'll never die".

    Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?" ( John 11:25-26)
    Thanks for your post, Cherrie.

  6. JLBO,
    I have to answer you on a number of levels. As a believer I hope to see my mother again. However, on a personal level, like you I find I miss her every day in so many small ways. And, I agree that for me she will never die because she is so much a part of all the things that go into making the "me" that exists today...