Hey friend, I’m feeling it this year, too. Mother’s Day is HARD for me. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve practiced all the gratitude and positive focus things, and I am truly thankful to be a mom, but I’ve also spent my share of time feeling all the anger, resentment, and sad things, too. My mom passed away two and a half years ago from cancer, and, well, we didn’t have a good relationship.
It’s hard to list out the reasons why on here, but the extremely short version is- she never got treatment for her mental health issues, there were several big things that happened that would be relationship-altering for anyone, and we just ended up living very different lives. The times we were talking, things were strained at best.
The void of not having a mom was something I was familiar with before she passed away.
But, I’m not writing this to stir up all the familiar feelings of loss and sadness, but to offer a little hope with a little tool I’ve found to be so helpful in my healing.
The other day I was in full on Taxi Mom Mode and waiting in a parking lot, yet again. Praise be for Starbucks and my iPhone! I thought I would pass the time deleting extra pics from my phone. As I was scrolling through the different albums, my emotions were running through all the familiar mom emotions- gratitude, pride, joy, and of course, guilt. Have you ever had one of those gut shot moments where the guilt hits hard over something you desperately wish you could do over? Maybe you run across a memory of your kids, something long enough ago and your situation has changed and the lens you’re looking at it through is no longer exhaustion and survival mode, but now through appreciation and clarity. “I wish I would have sat more, hurried less. Maybe smiled more and never yelled.”
I’m sure you could insert your own regret here. It definitely gives new meaning to the old saying “Wisdom is Sorrow.”
While still in the thick of one of those moments of regret, I swiped to the next pic, and it was of a bracelet a friend had given me, shortly after my mom had passed, with my mom’s hand writing on it. It simply said “Love, mom.” I knew it had been taken from a birthday card she had sent me. It was how she always signed her cards. When I had received the bracelet, it was too difficult to think about at the time, so I put it away in a drawer and didn’t give it another thought. But, seeing it now, in this picture, in the throes of my own mom guilt and regret, it hit me hard. She did love me. She loved me the best that SHE could. For a moment, that thought took my breath away. Words just can’t describe the weight that eased, and the softness that came.
Don’t get me wrong- I’m not just letting her off the hook like a flip of a switch. I don’t think healing and forgiveness always comes that easy. She made choices; consequences resulted that we still deal with.
What I AM beginning to do is see her more in the context of her own childhood, her mental health, and the fallen world we live in.
That day in my van, realizing now that she is made whole and no longer burdened by a life filtered through the lenses of her own pain, struggles, and mental health issues, how much more would she want a do-over?
This powerful tool of perspective has been so amazing for me, I just had to share it with you.
Hang in there my friend, and know on this Mother’s Day, you are not alone. My hope is that you can soften the lens you see your mom – or the memories of your mom – through, and that just maybe, this Mother’s Day might be a little easier for you.