Several years ago when I was a contributor for Madame Noire, I wrote this article about surviving Mother's Day without my mom. I was inspired to pen this piece because there are so many people who have suffered, or recently suffer from this loss, and I wanted to share the different ways I get through this holiday, and maintain my sanity. This piece is about four years old, but the pain is still very real. So for those of you who share this loss, I hope it's helpful to you.
It was a bright and sunny Sunday afternoon in May. As my family and friends watched, I was preparing to embark upon a significant milestone in my life, and I couldn’t have been happier. It was Mother’s Day 2003. We were at Daniel “Chappie” James Center on the campus of Tuskegee University, and I was receiving my bachelor’s degree. It was a day I’ll never forget, for obvious reasons. But that particular Mother’s Day is forever embedded in my heart because it was also the last one I would spend with my beloved mom. She passed soon after.
In the days and months to come, I had so many mixed emotions that I didn’t know how I was going to survive from day-to-day without my favorite girl. Thankfully, I was able to find strength in God, and, of course, my family. As time went by during that year leading into the next, I realized that at some point, Mother’s Day would come around again. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t have my mom with me to celebrate. But still, I thought that when the holiday finally came, I would be fine. After all, it was just one day.
Boy, was I wrong. When Mother’s Day arrived, I was a total wreck. As I looked around and saw the different expressions of love for mothers, I went totally numb. Before I knew it, my face was flooded with uncontrollable tears. I eventually got myself together and stopped crying so much, but as I collected myself, I realized that there would be more Mother’s Days I would have to face without my mom. I was not a happy camper about that.
Over the years, it’s been a challenge for me to celebrate this holiday because it was always very special when my mother was alive. For a time, I didn’t know how to move beyond the struggle of missing my mother in order to honor her memory. I thought when I had my son things would get easier, but they didn’t. In fact, they grew worse. For the past 12 I’ve moped around, cried, stayed in the house, and had the worst attitude on the planet on Mother’s Day. It wasn’t until this year that I decided to find a way to get past my grief to celebrate my mom, and allow my child to do the same for me without being in a funk.
Of course, I had no idea where to start, so I started thinking about some things my mom used to love to do. I decided to partake in one of her favorite pastimes each day leading up to Mother’s Day Sunday while remembering her smile and tender voice. This allowed me to bring her to life again for at least a moment, and I can say that each day was great. I also decided that I wouldn’t cry, because crying won’t bring her back. Instead, I spent some serious quality time with my son (more than usual) because one of the best ways to remember my mom is to show my child the same love she showed me. Another thing I’ve decided to do this time around is pray and ask for a joyful spirit around this time of the year because that’s what my mom would want me to do. She wouldn’t want me to sit around being sad, but rather, live it up and be honored as a mom too.
Doing these things has helped me move beyond the bitterness I’ve carried towards Mother’s Day. It’s clearly going to remain on the calendar, and there’s no getting around it. While getting through the upcoming weekend is never an easy thing to do after losing my mom, I’m learning little by little to embrace it all and remember the one thing my mother did best: She lived life to the fullest.
For those of you who’ve lost your moms and experience the same struggles I have had coping with the holiday, I encourage you not to mope around or cry for her on this day, but rather, to find the strength to celebrate the person she was and the life she lived. It’s the only way to enjoy it and get through it with your sanity. So with that being said, have a happy and peaceful Mother’s Day. I plan to.