gentle thoughts about a mother passed…
a special feature from Kay & Leslie, founders grandparentslink.com
When Mother’s Day comes about, I often find myself in deep thought about my own mother who passed away just three years ago. I am sensitized to all the ‘hallmark’ flags of this celebratory day: the flowers, the special notes and cards, a gift, or even TV commercials – all of which remind me I am without.
For a long period of time when I was grieving, which was way before her actual departure, I knew I would someday be without this most wonderful woman I had come to know and grow with. She was an amazing artist and lived her life as her painted landscapes–never quite done or completed. My mother’s dementia took her to a place I wasn’t invited, and her subsequent Alzheimer’s closed a door all too soon without notification.
Now she wasn’t the most wonderful ‘mother’ by mothering terms, if there was a definition, but she was clearly the most wonderful woman in my life. She didn’t know how to cook well, she didn’t put up with nonsense, and there wasn’t a lot of cuddle time. My mother was instead a strong woman who insisted that I button up and listen, button up and pay attention to life, button up and not play a violin for those ‘ oh, poor me’ moments. And, she taught me how to forgive others for their shortcomings. She was truly my very best friend in life; I felt so grateful to have experienced such a person. My mother was genuine, she was authentic, and she was mine.
When I sat alone at her graveside, I listened intently to a rabbi who never knew my mother. The ceremonial effects were to appease others in her family who needed to know that closure was defined by the rituals of funerals. When a brief breeze came upon me as I sat there, I just knew my mother was present. Her gentle, kind and compassionate soul was embracing me. And with that, I placed a small handwritten note together with her favorite paintbrush in her grave. I hoped she too would feel my embrace.
You made my cloudy days sunnier
My glass always full because of the values you have taught me
My conscience always clear because of the morals you instilled
And most of all, I am a better woman and person because of you.
I close my eyes and feel your encouragement, support and advice,
And the warmth of your hands embracing mine.
Wherever you are, please don’t forget about me
I know you have gone to a better place.
Mom, I love you with all my being; and I hope that you can finish that painting and begin a new one.
As this day is an acknowledgment of caring, I am incensed when other women tell me about their ‘mother trials’ of having to go and visit them, take them to lunch, find a gift, or call them on the phone. And yes, don’t we all know someone who complains about this? It makes me fume, because I only wish that my mother were around to do all that for; and to feel her physical presence. Oh, how I truly long for that.