Updated: Jan 24, 2019
In loving memory of my mother
I grew up with a mother who did not quite like celebrating Mother’s Day.
It would wake up a deep wound and despite her efforts to hide it, I could feel that me and my sister’s hand crafted little gifts were usually not enough to fill up the space of something missing every year.
My mother gave birth to one of her daughters on Mother’s Day (or the next day), and nurtured her baby’s life until she passed a few days later.
Since then, Mother’s Day for my mom, and indirectly for the rest of the family, was very much linked to this tragic experience.
Growing up, I did have a hard time understanding her pain, and although I can now relate with grief, I can only imagine losing a child, and the thought of it is already heartbreaking.
I confronted my mother a few times about it. I say ‘confronted’ vs ‘had a conversation with’ because I was some sort of provocative rebel growing up and may have delivered the message more like: “Why can’t you be happy with what you have instead of focusing on what you don’t have?”.
I have softened my approach since…
Her pain was clearly something I could not grasp and that could not be fully soothed.
Fast forward to Mother’s Day, many years later.
I am now a grown-up and I live thousands of kilometers away from my mom.
And although she does not care much about celebrating it, I know much she loves connecting with me and my sister, and how it makes her happy to hear from her daughters.
First call went straight to voicemail. With the nine hours difference we have it can be challenging to spontaneously be available to talk at the same time.
Second call: voicemail again.
I never got to say “Happy Mother’s Day Mom!” that year.
Twenty seven years to the day, on the anniversary of her belated baby girl’s birth day, and on Mother’s Day, my mother passed unexpectedly.
And the following year, it was my turn to be celebrated as such for the first time, as I was about to give birth to my son.
Now it’s been a few years that it all happened, and although I am not as sad, this time of year and Mother’s Day in particular has been a more sensitive chord to my song.
How ironic is that?!
Consciously, unconsciously or subconsciously… in any case, I think it is rather amazing.
Today I do my best.
I nurture myself even more in times where I know I will be more triggered (anniversaries of death, birth, celebrations…)
I try being fully present, as much as possible throughout the day, and embrace the beauty of life.
I enjoy the time I spend with my child and family and let them celebrate me on Mother’s Day or any other day!
And I also respect the part of myself that feels some pain and I let it be present. I don’t want to dwell on the story, because it is not who I am, but I don’t want to ignore it either, because my story is somewhere in my cells, and I wish to acknowledge my whole self.
This whole experience has also dropped a great deal of compassion onto my plate. Grieving has different shapes and every one juggles with it with their own style.
In many ways my mother has taught me more about life by leaving this one so early. Her guidance has persisted and I am very grateful to be her daughter.
Give a hug to your mom.
Tell her how much you love her.
And never stop celebrating her.
Emma Julaud, CMT, CST. Flowing Still, Body Therapy. emmajulaud.com
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