In anticipation of Mother’s Day, I have been thinking an awful lot about the moms in my life, my own mom, mostly and how truly blessed I am to have her. My mom was younger than me, a lot younger than me, when she lost her mom (my Oma) to cancer. My sister and I were young, I have a hard time even remembering Oma, it wasn’t fair then, it isn’t fair now. It never will be. I know Mom misses Oma. I see how special Oma’s things are to her. I see Oma’s picture in the center of my parent’s home and that flowers appear next to her picture frame on special occasions.
I don’t remember when my Oma passed, I don’t remember her birthday, exactly, and there have been many years we’ve celebrated Mother’s Day, and I never considered how difficult the day might be for my mom. I’m sorry for that, for not realizing what is missing for her, her mom. I imagine I’ve overlooked this for far too many people in my life. I’m sorry. The same is true for my dad, he lost his dad at a young age. too young. Again, I don’t know my Grandpa’s birthday or when he passed and I hate that. I wasn’t even thought of when he passed but these dates are still significant, of course they are, and I wish over the years, I would have in some way better acknowledged those dates for my parents.
I do remember one summer, a few years ago, walking around Mom & Dad’s property with Mom and she was showing me all their latest landscaping projects. My mom has such a knack for landscaping, their home looks like it has been professionally landscaped but it is my mom and dad who do everything. I could tell Mom felt proud of their latest project and everything looked so beautiful. My Mom doesn’t talk about Oma a lot but I’ll never forget this day, how I felt, or how her voice sounded when she said “I just wish my Mom could see it”. For the first time, ever, I think I caught the smallest glimpse of what it must be like to lose someone so special, to miss someone and to miss them forever. I wondered how many times my Mom has had that thought over the years. I think it all of the sudden clicked for me, you don’t outgrow needing your mom, ever. My Mom is still a daughter and she misses her Mom. I’m 32 and I can’t imagine navigating this life without my mom, navigating motherhood without her. She is home base. She is my safest place and I need her, plain and simple. Dad, you too but it’s Mother’s Day.
I feel cheated, I feel sad and I feel guilty. Guilty for having no idea what has been missing for my folks all these years. Looking back, I know I haven’t been the support I wish I could have been for them. I was so out of touch with what loss meant and so young when these things happened, I was simply very accepting of the reality. That’s just how it was, my mom didn’t have a mom, and my dad didn’t have a dad, but they do, of course they do! Oma will always be Mom’s “Mama”, and Grandpa will always be Dad’s Dad. They’re just not here and I feel like such an idiot for simplifying it the way I did.
Yes, I was young. I know my parents are thinking this entry is ridiculous, they’re thinking things like “how could I have known”, or “I shouldn’t be feeling these things” and plenty more where those came from, but I still want to write this. I wish I would’ve met Grandpa, I wish I could remember Oma, and I wish I would’ve had more time with them both. I wish you would have had more time with your parents. We all got cheated but that’s life as we will all come to know sooner or later. Still, I can’t help but to think we are so, so blessed. I think Oma and Grandpa would agree.
I’ve of course been thinking a lot about Luke’s Mom, too, any mother who will “celebrate” this day missing their child. I’m sorry, it’s not fair, you got cheated! I know Luke’s Mom will get one less card this year. Luke won’t spend two hours in Lowe’s garden center finding the perfect plant. I won’t get 100 picture texts of plants trying to help him choose the perfect one. She will live the rest of her life with half a heart but she is and always will be Luke’s Momma.
How did I respond to my Mom that day in the garden when she said “I just wish my Mom could see it”? Quickly and simply, “she can”. My Oma is in every flower my mom plants, every cake she bakes, every treat she sneaks the grandkids, in every holiday she makes perfect. My Oma is everywhere. We become a part of the people we love and they become a part of us. So, no one can ever really be lost. How special is the bond between a mother and her child? Unbreakable! I will say that again, unbreakable!
I can’t think of anything stronger than love, in all forms, but especially a mother’s love. I think that’s what grief really is, love. Sure, there are other layers to grief but I think the core of grief is love. When we lose someone we love, we don’t get to actively love them, not the way we’re used to, and certainly not the way we want to. To love, is to do…love, the feeling, is easy, it’s steadfast…figuring out what to do with that love is the hard part. Love is an action verb and I think grief is figuring out what to do with this unspent love, reserved only for one person.
This Mother’s Day, if someone is missing from you, you will be on my heart and mind. I will be sending you thoughts of healing and comfort as you navigate your way through the day. I also ask that you please remember what I said to my Mom that day in the garden, every time you think to yourself “I wish she could see this”, please remember “she can”. Peace by piece…
“Mothers and their children are in a category all their own. There’s no bond so strong in the entire world. No love so instantaneous and forgiving.”
– Gail Tsukiyama, Dreaming Water