It wasn’t going to be a good day. I felt it from the minute I woke up with a pit in my stomach reminding me a shit day has begun. It didn’t help there was no sun out, only rain on a damp, cold morning matching the mood I was already in. It didn’t help I emailed my victim’s statement to the district attorney’s office before my first cup of tea, a statement that took me hours to write on Friday. How do you put down into words the impact your husband’s death had on you within the confines of two pages? I was writing about his loss for months. And the little “present” my dog Barkley left me by the back door kind of summed up how crappy I felt.
I knew from the days leading up I had no mother this year to celebrate this year. While it could be argued I didn’t really have the same mother for years, pieces of her mind stolen by dementia, the reality of her physical absence hit me harder than I realized. The pandemic took away a proper sendoff and a celebration of her may have added to the punch. One day my family will have a mass honoring her, and some type of celebration. Until then, it is like her death is left in limbo, sneaking up on me with pesky little pinches of the reality of her death.
And then there’s Peter, always there’s Peter. Every day comes down to Peter, and today, on this first Mother’s Day without him, it would be no exception. He was, after all, the reason for my honor of motherhood. Not only was he the reason, but he made motherhood easier for me with the way he parented and how our children were as drawn to him as they were to me. Outside of breast feeding, we did pretty much everything as equally. Sure there were differences in our approach, but the results were always the same – our children were nurtured, loved, cherished and their needs met. Whenever Mother’s Day was celebrated, I always took the time to thank Peter for his huge part in my mothering of two great children. Without Peter, I seriously do not think our kids would have be these confident, loving, intelligent adults. Oh, I’m not putting all of that on him. I was, am, the best mother I could be to them. And Peter bought out that best in me.
Peter also celebrated me every Mother’s Day. After his yearly joke of “you’re not my mother”, he showered me with special picnics, walks on the lakefront, thoughtful dinners, and massages. He had great hands. When the kids were young, he did assisted in the gift giving, helping them make things or thinking of gifts to bestow on me. As they grew older and thought of their own ideas, Peter still made sure I was treated special, felt special, and I did. Always. My son wanted to plant flowers in the front yards this year like his father did every year for me. I thanked him for his thoughtfulness but declined. It’s not something that would give me comfort this year, only tears.
Without a mother to celebrate and my Peter to be part of the day, this morning I decided I just wanted to get through the day. That was my goal. To get through it. My kids celebrated me last weekend anyway. The only thing today represented was the meaning of this day, and this year, it held little. I had plans to spend some time with my son today. I backed out because all I wanted to do was wallow and veg, and veg and wallow, with crying jags thrown in for good measure. Don’t judge. He understood. He always understands. And so, I disengaged from the world, took two naps and wished the day go by faster. How did I become this person who wishes her days away? Oh, right. When Peter was killed.
I played with my dog, Barkley, even after his Mother’s Day gift left this morning. And he was doing so well. And I went to get a milkshake. I felt like a milkshake. On the way, I was stopped at a stop sign and when I looked to my left, a hawk sat on a branch of a tree. It was incredible looking. We stared at each other for a while before I turned my car around to get a better look, or perhaps a picture. When I had ready my phone, it flew away, its wings flapping right outside my windshield. Perhaps it was Peter, always camera-shy, wishing me a Happy Mother’s Day. I didn’t cry, or even feel at peace. It felt, I don’t know, almost normal. But damn if I wasn’t pissed that I didn’t want to get the picture of it.
I texted my daughter to tell her how much I loved her and how much I wanted to be left alone today. She understood. She always understands. But she texted me later to let me know she had a peaceful dream of her Busia (my mom) last night. She didn’t remember it exactly, only that she was there with my daughter, and it was “warm and happy”. Maybe my mom wanted to reach out to my daughter, and perhaps through her, me, on Mother’s Day. I was glad to hear about the dream if only to know my mother probably is happy and warm now as she is in peace. And my daughter still has a bond with my mom.
So, this Mother’s Day is almost ended. I am left feeling okay. I needed to feel my feels, however boring, however isolated. I needed to my own thing. No one can tell another how to act, ever, but especially if he/she/they haven’t walked a step in their journey. My journey’s been a bit tough lately. Duh, right? I wrote in my victim’s statement, “I don’t really know happy anymore. Not too much gives me pleasure”. And it doesn’t. And that’s okay. Happy will come. In the meantime, I feel the opposite of happy on some days, some days like this one. And that’s okay too. Maybe it’s the way to get to happy, to feel the bumps along the way.
This afternoon, I noticed a robin rebuilt a nest on the light I knocked it off a few weeks earlier. I got out a long stick to knock it down again I didn’t. Instead, I’m letting it stay for the birds. I won’t turn that light on while their home is on it. I believe there are eggs in it, and I mean, it is Mother’s Day. Why make it a hard day for the both of us?