Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day replay

Today is Mother's Day.  It's often difficult for me to write about my mother. The reason is because I really didn't know her.  The opportunity to wasn't afforded to me.  You see, she passed away when I was just a month and a half away from turning 16.  Being the youngest of her eight children, her time was very divided.  I felt lost in the shuffle. Talk about life being brutal, at times. There were other kids my age who'd lost their moms all too soon but it wasn't until recently that I learned these painful facts.  All that time in high school I felt alone.  We all apparently put on brave faces because that is what was expected. Kids are resilient, yet, it's a shame we had no other choice.  I wanted to find the darkest corner of the basement and just wither away.  However, I had to keep pushing ahead because it was easier for others to deal with me if I just put on a happy face.

Today I miss my mother just as much as I did in 1981.  The only difference is that I've learned to cope.  We never really get over the death of someone dear to us.  We just learn to manage without them being with us in the physical realm. She was a lovely person inside and out.

I have given much thought to my own mortality.  It is the sole reason of my quest for improved health. You see, my son is nearing age 16.  My age is a mere 6 years from that of my mother's death.  The image that he'd celebrate his 16th birthday under a veil of loss was enough for me to kick myself in the ass. For so long I felt my destiny was written for me since my mother's mother passed away when Mom was 16. Even though I had said repeatedly, "not me!" I still felt deep down that I'd meet my own fate as Mom had done. What hog wash! Foolish girl. It was high time I took hold of the factors in my life that I can control.

The following blog post is recycled from 2008. Happy Mother's Day.

Obviously if you're a mom you know 'Mother's Day' comes for us every.single.day. With each battle of the wills we get to celebrate motherhood. When he practices his ninja skills in the house and nearly destroys everything breakable in his path, you declare unconditional love. Then, wander off to silently weep and cry out, "where did he come from!?"

It's no surprise that my son, who is currently camped out on the love seat playing a video game, has no idea that today is Mother's Day. I am not going to bother reminding him. He's 14 and he's sincerely a wonderful boy. I get a celebration every time he gives me an unsolicited hug or does a chore without being reminded. In addition, the kid can make me laugh when I least expect it. Formality needn't be the course of today.

One thing I absolutely wish for is more vivid memories of my own mother who passed away in 1981. I was 15, but my memories are more like snapshots. I remember incidences but many are surrounded with sadness over her illness or arguments with my dad. I wrote once that my grief process involved being angry at her for dying. In turn, my joyful memories were pushed into the recesses of my mind. My subconscious took control. What I'm saying is it wasn't intentional. I did not hate my mother, but I was so devastated and lost.

There is one thing that was distinctive about my mom: Her laughter. I focus on how funny she was when she'd start giggling. The more she tried to stop; the more she'd laugh. She'd wind down only to rev up again ... eventually tears would ensue and the entire room would be laughing with her, but at her laughter rather than whatever it was that made her giggle so uncontrollably.

I don't know if it's genetic or not, but I'm able to find the funny in the mundane. Perhaps in the 15 years I did get to spend with her she taught me to be observant. Having grown up with very little, I'm sure she learned to find joy even in the most minute circumstances.

If all she could pass down to me was her laughter and the ability to find happiness when others feel defeated, well, I'd say that's a bounty of inheritance.

Happy Mother's Day -- may you find the funny wherever you go

1 comment:

  1. Great post and great decision to get healthy, I'm older than you but I've recently faced the same epiphany, if I don't take care of myself, who will?

    Bonne chance on your journey :)

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