Grieving and Celebrating On Mother's Day

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Mother's day is always...interesting. It's never been what I saw on television. From day one. My first mother's day was HARD. Because I knew deep down in my bones that it would be my last with Mami even though her treatments had just begun. It was also difficult because of the issues bubbling up in my relationship. I distinctly remember spending this day with Mami and having as good a time as I could muster but feeling deeply hurt and alone on the inside. It seems that would set the standard for holidays future. Some days are better than others. Today, I have been feeling softer around the edges. At least softer than I expected. I'm always surprised at the depth and power of grief even as the years go by. At how lettuce can send me down memory lane faster than the speed of light.

In the same way that I'm still surprised that Mother's Day Message to Heaven jumps to the top of searches during this month (I really need to work on 2018 graphics for that post).

There are always bittersweet moments. And thus, Mother's Day becomes a microcosm of every day we live. With its ups and downs. Its jubilance and heaviness, all wrapped up into one.

The Frog Princess is with her dad and her Nana. In a short time, I'll open up my arms and smile in my heart because she will be here with me. But in the meantime, I get to sit with my grief and the joy that death brings. Sounds weird, right? Oh but there is joy, dear reader. And I cannot explain it at this point other than to say that loving and being loved and having the honor of sitting with someone as they take their last breath is joy-filling and grief-filling all at once.

And so, here are some words for my beloved Mami who, even as I type this peers over my shoulder to see what I am writing, pride worn in her smile as it always did when breathed the same air I did.

Elena means light. You are the constant light in my life, even now. The beam that guides me through every situation I find myself in. The one who reminds me of her missteps so I can right my own.

Even with all that went on in your life, you didn't falter from living. You taught me how to love. How to hustle and in death, you teach me how to heal. For that, I am eternally grateful.

Thank you for turning me into the cycle breaker, the collector of firsts, and the giver. I'm honing all these things in order for me to be the lighthouse for my Elena in the same way that you were for me.

Mother-daughter relationships are hard. I won't police your feelings or demand you love on yours today simply because I don't have mine. We all learn something from our mothers, no matter what that relationship looks like. Our job is to take what we learned, good or bad, and turn it into magic within ourselves so that we can be a bit more whole than they were and carry that wholeness into the world.

It's okay to not feel undying love for the woman who birthed you. Okay to feel indifferent. Okay to feel a love that makes your heart ache. Okay to feel a hole where that love should be. Just as there's no right way to mother, there's no right way for you to feel at this point. Only you get to decide that. And don't let anyone tell you any different.

Celebrate where you are, hold space where you need it. Happy Mother's Day wherever you and yours might be.