Keeping It Real

Happy Mother’s Day

Within days of my mom’s death, my social media was flooded with ads for Mother’s Day. It wasn’t long until I realized that the holiday would mark one month since my mom died. In the same way that you always seem to see the make and model of your new car purchase everywhere right after you buy it, I started to see ads for Mother’s Day everywhere.

I know, it’s social media algorithms. They’re really good at that shit. But as my best friend said… “Read the room, Hallmark!”

Many people have reminded me that grief isn’t linear. I’m here to tell you that they’re right, it’s a damn roller coaster. The weekend after mom died, when I was with my family, I cried a lot. Sobbed uncontrollably. The kind of sobbing where you can hardly catch your breath and you’re wondering how you can possibly produce the amount of snot, drool and tears coming out of your body. I also screamed in anger. I have not been angry at a higher power for taking my mom from me, but angry that the medical examiner’s simple statements caused so much guilt for my father. Angry at the thought that maybe this could’ve been prevented had we all paid closer attention, put things together. Angry at the woman I kept seeing at Meijer who looked like my mom from a distance, wearing her signature red and black fleece jacket. I laughed big huge belly laughs at memories, at my wonderfully funny family. We smiled and played Euchre, we enjoyed delicious meals together, we hugged and held each other close.

When I went back to work, I walked in to see a gift from my coworkers that caught me off guard. I started reading my emails and went from frustrated, to overwhelmed, to angry, to sobbing again. Since then, I’ve just felt… empty. I’ve actually told friends that I wish I would cry, just to know I could feel something.

Something else many friends have reminded me of is that my mom may not be on this Earth anymore, but she is always with me. I wasn’t expecting to be absolutely sure of this so soon after she died. I see her in the cardinals that visit us. I swear she intervened and had me order the wrong size leggings that would fit my best friend that she knew I wasn’t talking to. That friend reached out to me the day after she died and I tried those leggings on to realize they were the wrong size. When the local cookie shop announced their new Chunky Monkey cookie, I knew mom was behind it. She came to me through the sweet woman at the Tim Horton’s drive thru who was wearing a breast cancer ribbon on her jacket. She spoke to me through the guy at the Taco Bell drive thru who stopped in his tracks to tell me I was really gorgeous. I hear her voice when I talk, and I see her face when I look in the mirror.

I know that this holiday is going to be difficult for me. A friend of mine, who 10 years ago also lost her mom suddenly, told me that every first holiday was going to suck. I just find the timing of this one extra shitty – exactly one month after my mom died is Mother’s Day. Today I’m going to spend time with my sister. We are going to meet to go shopping and have lunch. It’s something we would’ve done with mom. Physically there will be a missing piece to our Smith Girls trio, but I know mom will be with us in spirit.

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