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A Different Sort of Mother’s Day

I wasn’t sure how I was going to spend this Mother’s Day, the first without my mother. 

For many, many years Mother’s Day meant me asking for some time alone as a “gift.” Depending upon my husband’s work hours, I might spend a few hours on the Friday or Saturday morning before Mother’s Day alone at a restaurant, having breakfast, drinking coffee, and writing.  Oh, I do love the gifts; the flowers this year from my son Dan, the coupon for a hair cut and dye from Elizabeth, the manicure and pedicure from Rachel and David (my first, and I am so excited!), the beautiful homemade cards from the other children.  But there isn’t a material item in the world that means as much to me as  time alone.  But alway on Mother’s Day, I headed to my Mom’s house to honor her.

I’d kind of decided that this year I’d just cook my children a nice noonday meal and maybe wander over to my mother’s house for some lone writing time later in the afternoon.

As the day approached, however, that lone outing sounded less and less appealing as a way to celebrate.  For one thing, I’ve had a lot of alone time at my Mother’s in the past few months. For another, I wanted to commemorate my mother’s memory in some way. What to do on my first Mother’s Day without my mother?

When my sister Angie suggested we go to the cemetery on Mother’s Day I initially balked at the idea. Leave my children who might want to celebrate with me and visit a cemetery on Mother’s Day? It didn’t take long, however, to decide that what I really wanted, really needed, this year was to be with my siblings. Once several of us made the decision to go to the cemetery and then to Panera Bread where we often took Mom after her radiation and doctor’s appointments, I started getting excited. Then my daughter Elizabeth reminded me of how much it meant to my mother to buy a rose after the Mother’s Day church service and I knew that Angie and I had to go get that rose for her. 

Angie suggested we wear hats, and it made sense. My mother always wore a hat when she dressed up.  She had the elegance and grace to carry the look of a hat and gloves.

I do not.

My husband looked better in the hat than I did.

So Angela and I, and my nieces Michelle and Rebecca went to the noon Latin Mass that my mother loved so much. We couldn’t sit in the pew she’d always sat in since another woman had taken it, but we sat in the pew behind “Mom’s pew.”  It seemed a fitting tribute.  “Ave Maria,” was played during the service and the priest talked about our mother’s favorite saint, Saint Terese, during the sermon.  Afterwards, we bought roses to leave at the gravesite.

From there we headed to Panera Bread for lunch.  After we ate inside, we spent some time outside at the table where my mother had sat so many times, drinking coffee, smoking a cigarette, and enjoying her children. It seemed the right place to be on this first Mother’s Day, even more so than the cemetery. 

Some of the siblings went to a park in town, but Angie and I weren’t “feeling the park thing.”  We spent another hour sitting at our mother’s table and talking.  And without really thinking about it or discussing it, we ended up at her house on the way back home.

And that, too, seemed the right thing to do.

So, I did end up at my mother’s house on Mother’s Day, after all.

But not alone.

I was with my sister Angie and two lovely nieces.

Who, I believe, each have the style and class to carry a hat.

Almost as well as my husband.

Author:

Author, public speaker, and workshop presenter for community colleges, libraries, women's groups and for grief support groups, Hospice and retreats. Reporter for the Manchester Press newspaper and popular public speaker and workshop presenter on the topics of writing and finding hope in grief. "Coupon Crazy: The Science, the Savings, and the Stories Behind America's Extreme Obsession" was published by Familius Publishing in 2014. "Chemo-Therapist: How Cancer Cured a Marriage" and "Refined By Fire: A Journey of Grief and Grace" were released by Familius in 2014. "Mary & Me: A Lasting Link Through Ink," co-written with Mary Jedlicka Humston of Iowa City, was published in September 2015.

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