Motherless on Mother’s Day

It’s Mother’s Day.  Again.  Another year of being Motherless.  Ugh.  That one day of the year that makes me so sick to my stomach, that I would rather wallow in my sorrow as I lay in bed.  All day.  Eating cheese curls.  Well, at least that’s how I used to feel about this day.  Before I became a Mom, I absolutely, without a doubt, single-handedly, hated Mother’s Day.

My Mom became an Angel in Heaven when I was just 10 years old and she was a mere 33 years old.  I still can’t wrap my brain around the fact that she was so young.  That. I. Was. So. Young.  Losing my Mom when I was a little girl devastated me.  Everything I knew about life (not a whole lot) and the one person I trusted with my whole, little, innocent heart, was ripped away.  The rug was taken from under my feet and I had no freakin’ idea what to do about it.  They (who the heck is THEY?) say that kids are resilient.  Yes, I had to learn resiliency at a young age to keep from drowning in sorrow and pain. I had to learn resiliency so that I did not go down a path of self-destruction.  And I had to learn resiliency to prove to myself and others that losing my Mother would not define who I was destined to be.  But some people mistake resiliency for “getting over it”.  And I would like to say to those people, that will never happen.  As long as my lungs are filling with air and my heart is pumping, I will grieve for my Mother.  I do not wait for Mother’s Day to grieve for my Mother, just so everyone knows, it happens the other 364 days of the year too.  It happens in simple, unexpected moments,

  • while day dreaming of my future
  • while watching my kids play sports or perform at their recitals, only to realize that their Grandmother isn’t there to bask in the glory of their accomplishments
  • while driving my car and a song comes on that reminds me of her
  • while yelling at my kids and it hits me that I don’t have the one person to call who will not judge me and listen, really listen to my struggles as a Mom
  • while talking to my Mother’s brother on the phone only to realize that he misses her just as much as I do
  • while conversing with my husband about his family only to realize that he doesn’t have to deal with a Mother-in-law who may have “over stepped”
  • while looking in to the eyes of my brother and sister only to question: who looks the most like her?  who inherited her hair?  her personality?  her grace?  her sense of humor? her singing voice?
  • At Christmas.  There are no gifts under the tree marked “to Mom”

And although I grieve many other times in a year, Mother’s Day just happens to be that punch-in-the-gut reminder of what I lost.  What I long for.  What I don’t have that my friends do have.  Mother’s Day provides me with the “in your face reminders” such as: the commercials, the Hallmark cards that thank your Mom so eloquently, the signs for “book your Mother’s Day brunch today”, the flowers and gifts to show your Mom how much you care.  All visual reminders of what we Motherless Warriors can not get back – our beloved Mothers.

Only after I had children did my relationship with Mother’s Day begin to change.  Having my own children to celebrate with,  gave me a sense of hope.  Hope, that God willing, I will get the chance to spend many, many, Mother’s Days with them.  They helped me to realize that my Mother does not want me to spend my Mother’s Day in sadness, but in LOVE, surrounded by people who make me happy.  Surrounded with people who love me unconditionally.  So for my children, I will suck it up.  I will not show them that Mother’s Day is a day of sadness for me, but a day to rejoice in being alive.  Because every new day is a gift, and that gift was taken from my Mother way too soon.   I owe it to my Mother, Marjorie, to LIVE.  Because that is what she would want for me.

P. S.  Many Motherless Daughters have offered suggestions on how to cope with Mother’s Day. Suggestions such as, light a candle, play her favorite song, plant a flower or tree that you can visit every year.  These are all great suggestions.  But I must also add, that if you just want to sit and cry, then do it.  Because some of us Motherless Warriors just need a good ol’ fashioned cry fest.  And that is okay too.  It’s okay not to be okay, especially on this day.  Just know that at the end of the day, your Mother wants you to be happy too!

 

Happy Mother’s Day in Heaven Mom!!   Peace, love, and lots of hugs,

L

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Remove the Knots

Today is a crazy day for me, and I don’t have much time to write about grief.  However, I read this prayer in our Church bulletin this past weekend and wanted to share it.  Perhaps you have some “KNOTS” in your life that need to be removed?  I hope that you can reflect on this prayer and remove some of these knots in your life.  Trust me, you will feel much lighter once you do.

Remove the Knots – A Lenten Reflection

Dear Lord,

Please untie the Knots that are in my mind, my  heart, and my life.  Remove the Have Nots, the Can Nots, and the Do Nots that I have in my heart.  Erase the Will Nots, Might Nots, and May Nots that have found a home in my heart.  Release me from the Could Nots, Would Nots, and the Should Nots that obstruct my life.  And most of all, my Lord, I ask that you remove from my mind, my heart, and my life all of the “Am Nots” that I have allowed to hold me back from loving You and especially those that make me feel that I am unworthy of Your love.  Amen.

Peace, love, and indomitable spirit,

L

Being Motherless on a holiday

Ugh.  Holidays.  The thought of their arrival just makes me want to skip over them.  At the same time, I am excited for the holidays.  How is it that I can feel nothing but dread and excitement at the same time?  I am not going to lie, being Motherless on any holiday is completely and utterly difficult.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a simple holiday like Labor Day or a difficult one, like, oh I don’t know, MOTHER’S DAY?

Our family celebrates Easter, and I am excited to spend the holiday with my children and husband making memories.  I want to be there for them, in mind, body and spirit.  And I will manage to pull myself together and be present for them.  But I can’t help to feel a little emptiness in my heart because I can’t celebrate with my Mother.  Some years, we spend the time with my husband’s family.  They are fantastic and I love them as my own.  But here is some serious truth-telling: it hurts my heart just a little, to spend the holidays with them.  You see, when I am with them, it is a slap-in-the-face reminder of what I am missing.  Of what my children are missing.  Yes, I am part of their family, but it is not MY family.  The dichotomy between my thoughts and my celebrating with my husband’s family is ironic, it’s like getting punched in the gut…with LOVE.

So here we are approaching Easter.  Holidays typically are for family gatherings, but I think this year I might sit this one out and celebrate with just my tribe.  That’s not such a bad thing, is it?  My husband’s Nana used to tell me ALL.OF.THE.TIME: “Take care of your own Mother’s daughter”.  Sometimes, we Motherless need to be kind to ourselves, and not feel the magnetic pull of family obligations.  There are times that Motherless Warriors must make a choice that is the best choice for their well-being, and I call it self-preservation.

This Easter is going to be a fantastic one, and do you know how I know?  Because we will begin our day by going to Church.  And we will sing and praise and serve our Lord.     After all, “Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.”  

Peace, love, and indomitable spirit,

L

Grief and Field Trips

I have been attending my children’s field trips for about 10 years now.  I attend EVERY.SINGLE.YEAR.  Year one was a trip to the pumpkin patch, and as the years pass, the trips become a little more interesting and educational.  Yesterday, I spent the entire day in Baltimore with my daughter. My daughter was so excited for her field trip that she almost couldn’t sleep, and we had to wake up at 4am to get ready.  She was thrilled that I was attending, and I was equally excited to spend the day with her.  This is one of my favorite trips, and it is my second time attending.  I don’t know about you, but when I grew up, on my field trips we had about a 6:1 ratio.  Six children to one parent.  It was awesome.  You had a “day off” from the classroom and you got to spend the day with a group of your friends and one parent.  My friends and I liked to be mischievous and we would try to “lose” the parent.  What can be better than that when you are a kid?

Since the very first year that my children have attended this school, the ratio of child to parent on a field trip is, for the most part, 1:1.  ONE child to ONE parent.  (*insert eye roll, face smirk and a humph here*)  I thought that this was such a bizarre ratio, and questioned whether this was “fun” for the kids.  The kids typically hang out in groups anyway, but seriously, there are too many parents around.  Isn’t that stifling to them?  Do they feel like they can’t goof off without anyone noticing?  How can they “lose” a parent when every where you turn there is a parent?  Isn’t this too much authority on a day when they should have the chance to relax and be themselves outside of school?  Apparently not.  Kids will be kids and these kids enjoy having their parents there.  I was told that this happens every year, and it is this school’s CULTURE.  It took me a while to get used to it, but I decided to be a stay-at-home Mom so that I could attend their school trips and not have to worry about having to take a day off of work to be there.  I wouldn’t want to miss this memory-making opportunity in a million years.  And you know why?  Because I don’t have any memory of my mother being on a school trip with me…ever.  I’m not sure if the reason I don’t have the memory is because I was too young or if she actually never had the opportunity to attend one before she died.  And that makes me sad.  So about a week before this Baltimore trip, I started to grieve the fact that I don’t remember having my mother on a school trip with me.  It put me in a funk.  But then I started focusing on MY daughter, and the idea of making memories with her.  This energized me, and made me feel grateful to my kid’s school for this opportunity, even if I do get bus sick!  I hope that she remembers our time together on her field trips – waaaayyyy in to her adult hood.  And I pray that she keeps the tradition alive for her children some day.  So screw the ratios and bus sickness, and be there for your kids.  MAKE FANTABULOUS MEMORIES that will last their lifetime!

 

Peace, love, and indomitable spirit,

L

P.S.  I will leave you with some photos from the amazing and beautiful Baltimore Basilica. It was the first Roman Catholic cathedral built in the US.  It is considered the masterpiece of Benjamin Henry Latrobe, the “Father of American Architecture”.

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THE GIFT

Today is day four of my blog, and all day long, I have been pondering as to which topic I should tackle.  I wasn’t really feeling it today, as writing about my grief and my Motherless Warrior experiences can be draining.  I sat down at my computer to open WordPress, but before I did, I decided to catch up on Facebook first.  And there it was.  Staring me right.in.the.face.  THE GIFT.  God works in mysterious ways, and today, He decided that I needed this for my blog.

First, a little background.  My sweet Mother was a singer.  An amazing vocalist.  She sang in High School, in Church and at weddings.  She had some of the best vocal training, and in our family she was known first as a “singer”.   I don’t have a lot of memories of her, but I do remember being very small and having to go to a wedding with her.  I sat in a pew while she did her thing at the front of the church, and I could not wait until it was over.  I had to be about 6 or 7 years old, and I certainly had no appreciation for my Mother’s talent.

Fast forward to 2011, 34 years after my Mother passed away, I went to visit my Mother’s sister (Aunt C).  Shortly after I arrived, Aunt C handed me a CD.  She told me that my Mother had recorded three songs with her brother-in-law (Aunt C’s husband) on reel-to-reel tape.  For some reason, my Aunt C didn’t realize that she had this tape in her possession all those years.  My cousin’s husband was instrumental in getting the three songs off of the reels and on to a CD with amazing clarity.  The recording was circa 1963/4, so that would have made my mother 18 or 19 years old.  Another awesome fact is that my Mother’s Mother was an accomplished pianist, and she was the one playing the piano for my Mother and Uncle.  At the time, I had not heard my Mother’s voice in THIRTY-FOUR FREAKIN’ LONG YEARS!  And now I had a CD with three songs that I could enjoy my Mother’s angelic voice any time, any where.   To say that I was ecstatic is an understatement.  This was truly a GIFT.

A couple of days after I came home from visiting Aunt C, I was playing those three songs over and over.  Tears were streaming down my face.  I was happy that I could hear my mama’s voice once again, sad because I missed this voice on a day-to-day basis, and angry that I was deprived of this voice for the rest of my life.  So many emotions to feel at one time.  So overwhelming.  As I am crying, I hear little feet entering my bedroom.  It was my then five-year-old coming to see what the music was all about.  And guess what?  My darling daughter gave me another GIFT: the gift of dance…to her Grandmother’s voice.  She joyously danced to her Grandmother’s music, and she didn’t even understand the significance of that.  But I sure did.  At that moment, I thanked my Mother for my life, because without it, I would not have had my daughter.  In my life.  Or, to show me that even in sorrow, one must always remember to dance.

Peace, love, and indomitable spirit,

L

 

 

 

Grief and the Green-eyed Monster

At times, lifelong grief can cause grievers to feel various bizarre and unexplained emotions.  Two emotions that can not be controlled on occasion are jealousy and envy.  Merriam-Webster defines envy as “painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage”.  Yup.  On occasion, that’s me.

A few months ago I spent the day in New York City with my sister.  We drove to NYC in the morning to spend a beautiful fall day in a city that invigorates and inspires me.  However, our main purpose for the trip was to attend a “Together Rising” function and more specifically, to see the author Glennon Doyle Melton in person.  Glennon speaks to me.  And to my sister.  Although Glennon’s back story is so different from mine, I connect with her on levels of understanding that are so basic, yet complex: self-acceptance, truth-telling, grieving, being present for your people, helping strangers, knowing peace and exuding love.  I was thrilled to spend the day with my sister (our outings are very rare) and I was excited to be a part of something bigger than myself.  Oh, and I was fan-girling on Glennon and her surprise guest, Alicia Keys, big time!

But something happened earlier at dinner that stopped me in my tracks.  My sister and I were eating at a quaint Italian restaurant on their sidewalk.  Sitting next to us were two women, who appeared to be taking in the sights and sounds of the City.  They were conversing, and I couldn’t hear what they were talking about, but I could tell that they were not from the United States.  Their accents were music to my ears.  I always enjoy listening to different accents from around the World, and I could tell that these ladies were from Australia.  We paid our bill and as we were getting ready to leave, one of the ladies asked us for directions.  This was all I needed to strike up a conversation with the two lovely women as to what brought them to New York City.  In our conversation, we found out that they were mother and daughter, and that they were touring the East Coast for a month.  As they spoke and shared their plans for their journey, my eyes began to mist, my heart began to pound rapidly, and that all-too-familiar emotion of  ENVY took over.  I began to think, “why can’t I posses this advantage?” and “this Motherless daughter club that I’m a part of really sucks”.  And as my eyes continued to mist, I said to myself, “good job Lori for wearing your Bruce Lee mirrored sunglasses, they sure came in handy today!”  I continued to get emotional just thinking about how lucky these two ladies were to have this experience as MOTHER and DAUGHTER.  You see, I have been robbed of these experiences.   For me, there will never be mother/daughter dinners, girls night out, conversations, hugs, I love you’s.  You get the point, I could go on and on.

I explained to the women that my sister and I are Motherless.  For some reason, if I meet a mother and daughter and I have the opportunity, I try to gently remind them of how lucky they are to just be together. And so I did.  Honestly, I can’t remember what they said to us, but it was a kind moment that I will never forget.  As my sister and I were walking away, the last emotion that I felt was a bizarre one.  I felt: happiness.  I was happy for these two strangers.  Happy that they got to experience something that I could not.

See?  Grief really does cover the gambit of bizarre emotions.

Peace, love, and indomitable spirit,

L

Grief, MS, and my receipt

Cancer sucks.  But do you know what else sucks?  Multiple Sclerosis.  And any other disease that has no cure.  MS is the monster that took my Mother and left me Motherless at the age of 10, along with my 13-year-old sister and my 6-year-old brother.  Our lives were forever altered.  My Mother was 33 years old when she died.  THIRTY-THREE freakin’ years old.  So.very.young.

My grief will last my lifetime, because one does not simply “get over it” or “move on” after losing THE MOST important person in my life at the tender age of 10.  When the grief gets messy, I always try to remember that I was a lucky girl to have had my Mother for 10 years.  I carry that thought in my heart, and that helps me get through some of the rough days.

I was loved by my Mother for 10 years… how lucky am I?

My heart, love and admiration goes out to anyone battling the demons of MS.  May God bless you and hold you in the palm of His hand.

Peace, love, and indomitable spirit,

L

 

P.S. – This is one of my favorite quotes from the Author Glennon Doyle Melton.  I wave my receipt in the air proudly, because I am a Motherless Warrior!Slide1

 

 

 

 

First blog post – OH MY!

WELCOME!

This is my very first blog post.  To say that I am nervous and excited is an understatement.  I’ve been wanting to blog for some time, and a Facebook friend started a blog challenge to write every.single.day. for 30 days!  YIKES!

My name is Lori and I am a Motherless Daughter.  I am also a Motherless Mother.  But I like to refer to myself as a Motherless Warrior!  Being Motherless sometimes can result in a hard, lonely, and crazy way of life.  But the challenges and struggles I have had in life have made me who I am today.  And by the grace of God, my faith has also shaped who I am.  In the days ahead I will write about some of my life’s experiences and the life-long grief that accompanies losing a Mother.

Thanks for stopping by!  See you on the screen tomorrow 😉

Peace, love, and indomitable spirit,

L

 

“Even in times of trauma, we try to maintain a sense of normality until we no longer can. That, my friends, is called surviving. Not healing. We never become whole again … we are survivors. If you are here today… you are a survivor. But those of us who have made it thru hell and are still standing? We bare a different name: warriors.”
― Lori Goodwin