To me, Mother’s Day has always been about celebrating the woman who raised me. A day where every one of my siblings tries to see our mom, or at the very least call her. Not only do I call my mom, but I also always call my grandma. Now, I will admit, I never used to call my grandma on Mother’s Day; for some reason, it never occurred to me. When my dad died, though, it bothered me to know she would get one less call. I remember my dad always going to see her, unless something came up and in that case he would always call. To know she wouldn’t have that broke my heart. At the end of our phone call, I always end with, “Happy Mother’s Day from me, and of course from dad,” and she always cries.
One year, I didn’t get around to calling her, so I called the next day instead. She said she was surprised when she didn’t hear from me on Mother’s Day. It was then that I learned she had started to anticipate my call, and that makes me so happy. I could never fill my dad’s shoes, but knowing she won’t have one less phone call on that day fills my heart. It wasn’t until Nash died that I realized how hard this day actually is for a mother who has lost a child. Yes, I’m sure my phone call makes my grandmother very happy, but I also know she feels that absence, that void, regardless of that phone call. No matter what I try to do, she is well aware she will never again spend a mother Mother’s Day with all of her children.
I am lucky in the fact that since I became a mother, I have never had a Mother’s Day without a child. Nash died after Mother’s Day and Crue was born right before the next year. I can not imagine being without a child on that day. To me that would be almost too much to bear. Mothers who lost their only child..I can only imagine the pain that this day brings. To know that yes, I am a mother, but I have no child here to celebrate this day with, would be the ultimate moment of depression in my world. At the same time, knowing I will never at the young age of 36 celebrate a Mother’s Day with all my children shatters my already severely damaged heart. Nash will never make me some silly thing he made in school, no handmade Mother’s Day card, he will never bring me flowers, he will never stop by and visit, he will never call.
I will celebrate this Mother’s Day and all the ones that follow without the child that made me a mother to begin with. I will put on a smile and wear it like a pair of uncomfortable pants. I will do what I have been doing for two years and fake my way through that day. I will tell everyone how thankful I am to have Crue and pretend that it is enough. I will tell them what they want to hear, that each day is a blessing, and this one is no different. What I want to say is, this is hard, that smiling on this day is hard, that pretending half of my children is enough…is hard. To think of any day without my Nash as a blessing is hard. There is an empty seat at my table, an empty branch from my tree.
What am I grateful for on this Mother’s Day? I’m grateful for the people who choose to sit uncomfortably with me on this day as I work hard to get through the emotions it will bring. I’m thankful for Crue and the second chance he has given me to celebrate this day. I’m thankful for Todd; in his eyes I will always be the mother to his two boys, nothing less. Mostly though, I’m thankful to the other grieving mothers, the ones who have been celebrating this day for years without their child. They give me the strength I need to get through this day. They have showed me that it’s not impossible; that they can still celebrate being a mother to their child even though they are in heaven. That death does not take that title away but multiplies its meaning.
We are mothers who have gone through every mother’s worst nightmare. We have chosen to get up each day and honor our children gone too soon. On Mother’s Day, we will do what every other mother does and think about all of our children, especially the ones we cannot hold. We are proof that motherhood does not stop because our child is no longer here. Every mother chooses to get up every morning and put their child before themselves, and every grieving mother wakes up each day and chooses to face another day without them; do not mistake that it is a choice. My friend Courtney gave me one of the biggest compliments you can get as a mother, in my opinion. She said, “Everyone knows who Nash is, you made sure of that.” She said this with tears in her eyes and a smile. I felt proud, proud to be the mommy who wouldn’t let him be forgotten. He never stopped being my son and I will never stop being his mother.