Hallmark Cards and 1800 Flowers (thank you Mike and Mike in the Morning) has greatly expanded the meaning of “Mothers' Day,” to become the most profitable of "holidays" each year.
Your best friend, father, God, country, and media outlets galore, will bestow every sin upon you, unless you 1) Call your Mom, 2) and/or send her a Hallmark Card costing $5 minimum, 3) and/ or send her a dozen roses on time, of course, 4) and /or take her out to dinner, 5) and/ or give her a gift worth remembering.
But this ode is not for those women.
Let us never forget all the women in the country, who have a heavy heart, come this Sunday, May 12th, 2013.
To the women who could not bear a child, for any number of reasons: biological, genetic, or did not have the money for adoption, surrogacy or implantation of a fertilized egg.
To the women, now in their 60's, 70's, and 80's, who went to live with "Aunt" Betty for 6 months, then returned home with no more "bounce" in their step. They may often wonder what ever became of their children they were forced to give up for adoption.
To the mothers whose sons and daughters were killed in combat, or for some, suffering extensive PTSD, now medicated with multiple anti-psychotics, anti-depressants, or anti-anxiety medications, and becoming a shell of who they were before that explosive device killed his/her best friend 2 feet away. This child may not even know what day it is.
To the mother whose child has a severe mental illness with diminished funds for help and support, since the 1980’s. How does that mother deal with a child with auditory “command” hallucinations, on a daily basis, which tell him or her to kill others, or oneself?
To the mothers whose children have disappeared into that shadowy world of homelessness, drug abuse, and selling their bodies to the next pimp for a lice-infested motel room, in order to keep warm at night and stay out of the rain. “Where is my baby?” she asks herself, and goes to bed, just hoping and praying to hear something – anything, instead of being left in the dark, literally.
To the mothers whose children have been gunned down in their neighborhoods by senseless street fights, gang fights, or walking to school, or playing in the school yard, who did the best they could while working 3 jobs and still hoping her food stamps would last till the end of the month.
To the Sandy Hook Elementary School Mothers, who lost their children to a mentally ill man with multiple guns and magazines attached to them, so he could kill as many 5 – 6 yr olds as possible. How DOES the NRA sleep at night with this one?
To the step-mothers who have raised their husbands’ children since they were toddlers, doing the best they could, only to be cast – off and brow-beaten by the childrens’ own biological mothers on a daily basis, as the “Wicked Witch of the West.” Or by just being a step-mother.
To the Lesbian couples who have raised their children, providing the love and affection as many heterosexual parents do, but are cast off by our society, and possibly their own biological families, in as many as 39 states.
To the Trans-gendered mothers , either as ex-fathers, or ex-fathers who are now mothers, whose children and extended families may be confused and conflicted about “what to say or do.”
To the mother who took the psychological and physical abuse, lived with domestic violence, and stayed in that relationship to protect her children, only to discover her children were also abused – both physically and sexually by this same man. Can this mother ever forgiver herself? Can her children, ever forgive, if they knew her full intentions?
To the mother who lost a child to cancer, AIDS, Hep C, diabetes, or other fatal illness or accident.
To the mother whose teenager was too drunk to drive, but did so anyway. Or was texting while driving, and swerved into the on-coming truck.
As a therapist, I have heard many of these mothers in my private practice office. A small, comfortable, warm room, with two couches, four chairs, and pictures on the wall. They cry. They sob. They hate this day. They rage. No one fully understands.
Not even their other children, who are alive and well. Not their own parents, not their friends, partners, husbands, boyfriends, employers, colleagues, nor the world. These family members may try, but many don't. They may be lost in their own grief, but not want to say it. A lost sister or brother, aunt or uncle too, for them.
But it's Mothers' Day.
So take your rage out on me. Scream at me. I can take it. Any day. Any time. Call into my answering machine at 3:00 am. I’ll hear it in the morning. I’ll call you back. I can sit with you. I will listen to every word.
I will help you grieve. For the grief is profound, and it may never go away. But together, we can figure out how to manage it, make meaning of it, some way. You have the answers, so we’ll discover them together. I’m with you here.
So I’ll raise my glass to toast all the women in this ode, on this Sunday, Mothers’ Day, May 12, as I hope others do too. For you are the special ones. I will never forget you. I honor you.