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Not Your Typical Hallmark Mother's Day Message

Friday, May 06, 2005
This Sunday will be my third Mother's Day without my mother.

The first one was awful. I avoided all the malls, turned off the radio, and tried to avoid all the advertising frenzy that surrounds Mother's Day. It hurt too much to hear endless ads about the flower bouquet that would make mom's eyes light up, the restaurant where mom would love to dine with her adoring family this Mother's Day, and the gift that would make mom's Mother's Day just perfect. My Mom was never going to get to celebrate another Mother's Day again, thanks to the success of an earlier advertising campaign.

Last year was merely painful. I missed Mom terribly, but I was able to find quiet ways to honor her throughout the day -- something that made it possible for me to enjoy spending Mother's Day with my own four kids and to take time to celebrate the other significant "mothers" in my life -- those who are still here on earth and those who are no longer living. (I've been lucky enough to be blessed with a fabulous mother-in-law, who understood why I became a basket case while I was riding the grief rollercoaster after my mom's death, and who understood that there's no statute of limitations on the time or intensity of grief. I've also been blessed with two utterly doting and adoring grandmothers -- my Dad's mom, who died ten years ago; and my Mom's mom, who is a total dynamo at 96.)

This year, I am feeling much more at peace with my mother's death -- and her life, too. She struggled with bipolar disorder while she was raising her four children and also battled breast cancer and two unrelated types of lung cancer. I accept and love her for who she was and for all the life lessons I learned by being raised by this complex, challenging, but ultimately very loving woman: persistence, diplomacy, courage, the need to fight for what's right (even if it darned near kills you!), and your obligation to fight for (or to act as a voice for) those who may not be able to speak for themselves.

Mom may not be here with me any longer, but she is very much a part of who I am today.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom.

| posted by Ann D @ 12:24 PM