There are holiday seasons and seasons of the year, but starting April 20 of each year a different sort of “season” begins for me. I have yet to give it an official name. It lasts roughly three weeks. This “season” was not even in existence prior to 2008. The catalyst for this “season,” let’s call it Mom Season for lack of a better name, was April 20, 2008 – the day my mom passed away.
Now, why would Mom Season begin as soon as my mom passed? Well, for one reason, I had to carry on as a mom without a mom. Two days after my mom’s passing, I still had to put on a smiling face to celebrate my eldest daughter’s second birthday even though my heart had broken in ways I could never have understood previously. Three days after my daughter’s birthday, I attended my mother’s funeral where I lead the procession of men carrying my mom’s casket and gave a talk about my mom. Two weeks and a day after the funeral, I went to the hospital for preterm labor for the fifth time during that pregnancy. This fifth time left me stuck in the hospital for 4 days on bed rest. In that four days time, when I wasn’t completely doped up on magnesium, I spent several hours lying their alone aching over the loss of my mom. Then two weeks and three days after the passing of my mom, our second daughter was born 6 weeks early and taken off to the NICU before I even had a chance to hold her. I remember sitting there alone after delivering her, my husband and daughter off in the NICU, and wanting so badly to call my mom and tell her the news of her granddaughter’s arrival. Of course, my mom knew the news already. Two days after her birth, I had to be discharged from the hospital leaving my daughter in the NICU. This day also happened to be, what should have been, my mom’s 56th birthday. Two days following my discharge from the hospital was Mother’s Day. It was my very first Mother’s Day without my mom and I spent it with my time split between holding our premature daughter in the NICU and snuggling with my two-year-old daughter at home. Mother’s Day marks the end of Mom Season for me.
I thought it would just be that year where the whole three week period would be an emotional roller coaster. I didn’t expect to feel such contrasting emotions around the first year anniversary nor every other anniversary since. It wasn’t that I didn’t expect to remember each of these significant dates, I guess I just thought I would be better at separating them. It’s just tough. It’s this period of time where I get to focus on the blessing of two beautiful daughters being born into our family, but I also can’t ignore the emptiness I still feel over the loss of my mom. Why her death date, her birth date, and Mother’s Day all have to fall so close, I’m not sure I understand. A part of me has felt that maybe it was a tender mercy from Heavenly Father to have such tough times juxtaposed next to two joyous occasions. A tangible reminder of the circle of life? A purpose for moving forward when my life, as I knew it at the time, seemed so bleak? I try to look at it that way, but it’s hard not to feel like the wounds have been reopened when I face these dates at the same time commercials and e-mails advertise how I should “Get Mom Something Special This Year.”
This post has no real message, it is more a cathartic exercise to help me sort out the difficult feelings I face each year during Mom Season. Today, being April 21, I sit between mourning my mom’s loss all over again and celebrating the beautiful daughter that I, with my husband, have the privilege of raising. When it comes to the loss of my mom, I rarely spend too much time thinking about the “could have been” moments in life, as those thoughts tend to beget more sorrow in me. Rather, I think of the “one day” moments. One day, I will be back with my mom. One day, I will feel her embrace again. One day, she and I will replay the countless inside jokes we had together. One day, I will dance with her again. One day, I will watch her interact with her grandchildren and watch her face fill up with joy as she revels at how incredibly beautiful and funny they are to be around. One day, I will hear her laughter again and I will laugh too, because that’s the affect that her laughter had on all those who knew her One day, I will talk with her about all the things I’ve learned as a mom that I never understood as a child. One day, Mom Season will not be something I have to process. One day, it will just be an eternal life where I can live with my mom and as a mom simultaneously.