To The Motherless On Mother’s Day

by Lori Elbaum
Originally Published: 
Courtesy of Lori Elbaum, Photo by Aly Kirk

To the motherless on Mother’s Day, those who will always understand the bittersweet day of celebration for the person you want most.

To the motherless, you know what it’s like when the days begin leading up to Mother’s Day and the celebratory talk begins.The sentimental commercials air with the daughters, no matter the age, giving their mom the special card; they embrace, the tears fall, and they sit around having brunch laughing together. The anticipation of this day makes me cringe.

Now my fourth time motherless, I have to go through the agony of exposure to endless Mother’s Day photos and the excruciating social talk on all my feeds. Mother’s Day used to be my favorite, celebrating my best friend was my honor. Giving her a token of my love for at the very least one day seemed to mean the world to me, and everything to her. Now walking into a store and seeing the greeting card section makes me want to vomit.

To the motherless, the confusion of being a mommy and not having one is real and a battle. The inner conflict of being the mom, but still always the “kid” without her mom is something that I can’t quite wrap my arms around. While quite honestly I’d like to hide and wake up the very next day, I have three babies who do have a mommy. While I know they don’t understand it now, they will someday. And I never want them to feel as if I took anything away from the privilege of being their mommy. It’s a day to teach them how to love, to be loved, have strength, and mostly celebrate the best three things that ever happened to me. How lucky I am to have the very beings that save me from my mourning. They allow me to cry, and I can then look up at their sparkly smiles and remember that I waited my whole life to be called their mommy.

To the motherless, block it all out. The overwhelming jealousy of hearing everyone else’s love and joy for their mothers is sometimes more than I can handle. We live in a world where we share everything. It’s so wonderful to be able to log on and see the birth of someone’s baby or share pictures of family vacations, but the hard truth is we feel envious when it something we want and just can’t have. I see the feeds filled with pictures of moms and daughters, the notes of love and admiration – and while I hate to admit it, I am so jealous it hurts throughout my entire body.

To be clear, I relish in others’ happiness and good fortune, but to see mothers being able to share this day with their daughters who are also mothers brings me to a place that becomes almost too much bear. How lucky they are and how all I want to do is tell them to hold on to her forever. Mine saw me become a mother, holding my hand as I delivered my first baby girl, and then she was taken only a few months later. Not sharing in the moments that we deserved together during this chapter of my life was not okay. Seeing others have what seems to me to be all is beyond painful.

To the motherless, allow yourself to think of her. I find it too much to express my grief so I rarely do. If I open the floodgates, I’m not sure I can ever close them. So rather than try, I hide. I’ve become great at it in fact, even to the point of trying not to think about her. It’s ridiculous because there isn’t a second in the day I don’t or become filled with anger as to why we didn’t deserve to live more life together. My resolution to myself for my own sanity and my children’s is to share more, to allow them to learn about her through my millions of memories, and to come out from hiding. While technically I’m motherless (horrible and unbelievable to even say now), I can still celebrate her on Mother’s Day and the 364 other days of the year.

To the motherless, celebrate your children. I know that my mom is with me. Our bond was something beyond a mother and daughter. I should be so lucky to have my children feel the way about me that I will always feel about her. Her greatest joy would be to see me now in all my glory, raising these perfect tiny humans. I think back to the many, yet not enough, Mother’s Days we celebrated together, and now I can clearly see that it was never about her. While we always tried to give her a day to be spoiled, her joy was being with us. She sees us now and forever. She lives on through my children. My job now is to let this day live on for them as their mother and in memory and celebration of the one I had. Looking at their sweet faces and honoring what she taught me is something I can do for her – and for them. Life is about making sweet memories for the ones we love, just as the ones I hold close to my heart.

To the motherless, like any other day that’s tough without her, this too shall pass. I haven’t hit the point where it gets any easier. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. I know in my heart it comes from a good place, but none of this makes sense. I’m not sure when that happens or if it happens to all, but at the very least, I do know that this being one of many monumental tough days comes and goes, and for me, I am here. My family and I are healthy. I have a wonderful husband. I have the most amazing babies. And, I still have my mom in my heart forever. Happy Mother’s Day to my mommy who I will love forever and ever.

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