Mother's Day is a bittersweet time for me and a difficult day for my grandmother. We mourn the woman who connects us, the mother who made me want to be a mother, the daughter who made her a mother.
One year ago, on the day before Mother's Day, my mother and I looked into each other's eyes for the very last time. (When I saw her again, she was unconscious in the days before her passing.)
Most of the time, it feels as though I lost my mother many years ago because Alzheimer's disease robbed us of a relationship so long before she died. On the first Mother's Day since her passing, it's still hard to believe she's really gone.
We mourn a piece of ourselves.
I mourn the mother whose body created mine, whose heartbeat and voice I knew before I took my first breath. My grandmother mourns the daughter whose tiny body grew within hers, whose movements she felt long before she held her in her arms.
We celebrate my daughters.
My girls sometimes accompany me to visit my grandmother in the house where my mother grew up. They are the third generation of little girls to play in my grandparents' house.
We feel my mother's absence.
I imagine my mother there with us, delighting in my two-year-old's humorous but intelligent questions and observations as she reads her a story before bed. I picture my mother there, praising my five-month-old as she pulls herself across the carpet towards a brightly colored toy, commenting on how fast this baby is growing up and how much she resembles me.
She is somewhere, in between us.
I feel my mother deep within my soul--in my instinctual love for my daughters, in my pursuit of truth, in my heartbreak over others' suffering. Sometimes I see her in the mirror, now that my light blonde locks are darkening towards her rich brunette.
She lives on, in our shared passion for the things she loved. She is there with us as we admire an old house, bake a cake, prune a rose bush or sing a church hymn. She is there with us when we find a Peanuts greeting card in the grocery store or hear a Patsy Cline song on the radio.
My girls will never know my mother's heart, but they know mine. They'll never feel my mother's embrace, but they feel my grandmother's.
And, somewhere, in between us, they know and feel her, too.
Lauren Flake @ For the Love of Dixie
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