It hits me sometimes in the most random moments. Watching a children’s movie or even just my kids playing. The big life changing moments are more obvious, but it comes in the little moments of daily life too. It is unpredictable and constant at the same time. A void that will forever remain empty. My mom is not alive.
I feel her presence often, but I haven’t hugged her since I was fifteen. I have lived more than half my life without her. Anyone who has lost a loved one will tell you that grief never really goes away. It changes, ebbing and flowing with time, but it will always be there. You are forever changed. There are moments when I realize how different my outlook on life truly is. Perhaps the most poignant for me has been becoming a mother.
When I was pregnant and struggling with common pregnancy ailments, I began to truly appreciate this woman who did it five times over. As I struggled with newborns and toddlers, I longed to hug her and tell her how much I appreciate her. When you are fifteen, you do not truly appreciate your mom. You don’t understand her point of view and what she did for you when you didn’t understand or see. Not until you walk in someone’s shoes do you truly understand them. Some of us are robbed of that chance to say, “I get it.”
So how do I make lemonade out of this giant rotten lemon life handed me?
I give myself space to grieve when I know it’s coming. I forgive myself for the days I let it get to me. Any happy life event is tinged with a streak of sadness. When life is wonderful, you want to share it with the ones you love. Even the one who isn’t there to see it. My sister’s wedding; my children’s first days of school. Moments I know she would be so happy to witness. So I never judge anyone’s tears in moments like that. And I hope that no one is judging mine.
I share my grief. This is a lot less depressing than it sounds at first. When I bake banana muffins with my kids, I am sharing a part of my feelings about my mom. So I use it. When I am desperately missing her, I take the chance to share that with my kids. They may never get to hug their grandma, but they will know her favorite music and all her best recipes. On her birthday, I will eat tacos and laugh over margaritas with friends. I will be at every PTA meeting. It may not be HER in that room, but she is with me as I say yes to way too many projects.
If you have to share this journey of motherhood without your mother, I hope you find a way to share. Let other’s miss her with you and the void begins to feel a little less deep.