When I lost my mom, it did not feel like the first time. We had lost her years before she actually passed. She was cursed with a disease which withered her down to an empty vessel. It was long, frustrating, and something I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy. By the time I was 18 years old she was no longer the person I once knew. Most of my late memories of her are not actually of her, they are of parts of her, tainted by illness.
I was six months pregnant when she passed. I remember the exact moment it happened, clenching my stomach and desperately trying to keep control of my uncontrollable emotions. It was my first child and her first grandchild. It felt unfair, like something deserving had been ripped away from both of us. Why do I have to go through life without my mother? What did I do to deserve this? What did she do to deserve this?
Nothing. We did nothing to deserve this.
I know this was nobody’s fault; that it is not how things in life work. However, it didn’t stop the thoughts from occurring.
On the day on my due date, my emotions hit me like a ton of bricks. I was anxious, excited, scared, and uncertain of the next couple of weeks while we waited to go into labour. I stood in the kitchen at 9 o’clock at night, sobbing into my half eaten apple pie, wishing I had my mom around. I needed the support- the words that only a mother could give. You know, the ones you get when you call her in the middle of the night because you’re stressed about a big job interview. Or when you’re feeling lonely and just need to hear her voice. I needed that. I just needed to hear her voice, and I couldn’t.
When my son was born, I swear I felt my mother around me during the delivery. Whether I was feeling what I wanted to feel or there was something actually there, I don’t know, but what I do know was the only person I wanted in that room more than my husband was my mom. I wanted her hand to hold and I needed her support. I wanted the moment of introducing her to this new life I had brought into the world- this baby who instantly made me feel whole and complete. It was an emotion which I struggled with for weeks after the delivery. It was comparable to feeling like I had forgotten something very important. I had many people in my life step up and try to fill the void, who helped me out as much as I needed, and for that I am eternally grateful, but it was not quite the same as having my mom there.
As the months went on and I came into my own as a mother, I realized how much of my mom I saw in myself. I saw it in the little things such as the songs I’d sing at night while trying to get the baby to sleep. I saw it in every nurturing action I did. I often see her in my son, and at times feel he can see her as well.
I cringe when I hear others talk about turning into their mothers as something comparable to turning into a monster. I want nothing more than to be even half the mother my mom was. She had this incredible way of effortlessly comforting anyone who needed it. She was warm and welcoming, with the kindest heart you could ever imagine. You’d walk into our home and instantly feel like family. She is someone I strive to be like, every day.
I made a promise to myself before my son was born. I promised myself that I would talk to my children about my mom in ways that would make them feel as though they knew her. To share stories with them of what she was like, show them pictures, play them her favourite songs, and to live each day in a way that she would have been proud of. In a way, it keeps her close to me. It keeps my memories of her fresh and that is all I can ask.
It pains me to think my children will grow up without seeing her and that I will have to find my way in life without her guidance. That being said, I don’t feel like I am without her. In fact, I see her everywhere I go. I see her in the places she used to be, in the things she used to do, and I see her in myself. She is in every hug I give, every welcoming moment, every kind word I say, and every celebration, big or small.
And because of that, although I may be a motherless mother, I am not without my mom.