Today marks my 10th Mother's Day without having a mother.
She had a stroke the day before her birthday in December of 1999. That caped off a year that started with the death of my father in January.
My parent divorced when I was very young. My father and I weren't especially close, but the death of my mother was very difficult for me to handle. So much so that I had to take a month of leave from my job at the time to get my head together.
For the first 5 or 6 years afterward, Christmases and Mother's Day were very touchy times.
I would either sequester myself in the house during the middle of December or scowl at anyone who inquired about my Mother's Day plans.
Don't even get me started on the looks I shot to people who wished me a happy Mother's Day.
Clearly I had some issues to work on.
As you can see it took me sometime to let go of the pain. Make no mistake, it wasn't easy but I'll let you in on a little secret that really helped.
It occurred to me that while my mother wasn't with me in her physical form, there has not been one day that she hasn't left my side.
Thinking back on some of the places I've been and the things that I've done, I should not have come out of these situations unscathed. Frankly speaking people, luck can only carry you so far.
The only explanation I can come up with is that my mother walks with me and keep me safe from major disasters.
Who can fall asleep on the 63 bus for at least three hours between Stony Island and Midway, wake up with my purse and it's contents intact, get off at 63rd and Ashland at 3:40 AM to catch the bus back east and make it home in one piece?
Who can fall asleep not once---not twice but three times on a south bound 6 Jackson Park bus wind up at the last stop (Rainbow Beach) after 1:00 AM and walk home over two miles without a single thing happening?
Me, that's who.
As a small aside, you put me in a moving vehicle and I'm done---I will fall asleep.
Those are just two of many examples of how blessed I was to come out of a sketchy situation over the past 10 years.
So despite the fact I can neither feel, see or hear her, I take comfort in the fact that our bond transcends death.
I won't lie, sometimes it's hard not to miss her being here.
The same way you wouldn't wish everyone Merry Christmas or Happy Easter, you shouldn't assume everyone's mother is still alive.
While I've made my peace with people's assumptions, it might be ripping the dressing off of a fresh wound for some.
Now when someone wishes me a happy Mother's Day, I respond with a "thank you" and think to myself that I've been a mother for years---just not in the traditional sense.
I think my mom would of approved.