In February of 2006, 6 weeks before my son was born, I got the call that my mother had passed away. She had struggled for 18 very long months trying to beat the cancer that eventually ravaged her body. As each day goes by, I don’t miss her less, or forget to think about her. It has gotten easier but not better. My kids are a constant reminder to me of what I lost, because they themselves are missing what would have been an incredible Grandma.
I really don’t have any regrets about my relationship with my mom. We were very close. She called me a thousand times a day. We always told each other that we loved each other, and I knew know matter what she was infinitely proud of me. I don’t have questions or unresolved issues. I am grateful for that. Her death has taught me to treat every relationship I care about with the same level of respect that she had for ours.
Even though we moved to another country shortly after she was diagnosed with cancer, we did it because she encouraged us too. She didn’t want her illness to stop my family from doing what she knew was best for us. She probably wanted us to stay, but never waivered. She was adamant that we move. Sitting in the airport on our way to our new home, I was sobbing so hard for such a long time that a woman pulled me away from my husband to see if I was safe. As I reassured her that I was simply sad to be moving, I also giggled (internally) because my mom would have done the same thing. That move was simultaneously the most difficult and best thing we have ever done.
I wish however, on this Mother’s Day that I knew my mom as a person. She was always simply my mom. Goofy, and well read, smart but not formally educated. A good cook and an avid gardener. A yogi at heart if not in body. I know tons about her, but I was just coming into my woman hood as she was leaving hers. There are questions I have about her relationships, and how she managed day to day details that I will never know.
I try to make sure that my kids have a sense of who she was. They know her special recipes, and all about the things she taught me. They understand that some of their personality traits are from her, and that she loved to dance and garden just like my daughter. My son is a lefty just like her and we call him southpaw, because that is what she would have done.
Throughout my days I also try to give my kids a sense of who I am. I attempt to explain why I might be frustrated, or that even if they didn’t mean it they need to say sorry because it hurts my feelings if they don’t. I always leave books for my kids as my mom did for me. This Mother’s Day, I will sadly remember that I can no longer send her one sarcastic card and one sappy one, but I will cherish the homemade ones I will receive.