I was listening to Pandora in my office when the third Mother’s Day commercial in the past 10 minutes came on.
“JESUS FUCKING CHRIST!” I yell loud enough for the boys in the warehouse to hear.
“You alright, Jess?” One asked.
“Yup!” I shoot back
He comes in to ask what’s up, but backs off when I assure him I’m fine and don’t want to talk about it, passing over a fun-size Twix as a peace offering to quell any further out burts.
They all know she’s been dead for a couple years now, yet I wouldn’t expect them to see a correlation between my sudden bad attitude and anything referencing Mother’s Day. Furthermore, I wouldn’t expect them to know how to handle it if they caught on. I still don’t even know how to handle it.
It’s a few days prior to the holiday and I am already starting to feel that familiar pull on my heart-the one where I am aggressively reminded how much my mom’s death actually hurts me. It is literally on every street corner, from flower displays outside the Mexican Market, to conversations from passers bye. It starts like the feeling of a slow leak in my chest and grows into a hurricane. Every ad feels spiteful, like the brands are mocking me.
“Give your mom the perfect gift this Mother”s Day! Oh that’s right, you can’t because she’s dead. That’s too bad.”
On Sunday, everyone on Facebook will posts statuses about their mothers, and for fear of being a wet blanket, I’ll refrain. I don’t want anyone to feel bad for me but at the same time, I really want to talk about it. I want to talk about how even when she was still here, she still wasn’t most of the time. I want anyone to know that her lucidity made her leave when I was small, and that her on and off absence made her really hard to love. I wan’t to talk about how despite all that, I still did, even though it hurt much of the time.
Not a day goes by where I am not equally uplifted by once knowing her, as I am crushed by her being gone. It’s as though when she died, my sky opened up, but the earth sank beneath my feet at the exact same time. I have been in limbo ever since, but only really feel the panic of it on Mother’s Day-the day holiday that forces me to come face to face with what I am without.
So what do you do when you’re looking that emptiness in it’s eyes? You tell yourself that it’s okay. It’s okay if you want to spend Mother’s Day reaching out to all the moms you know, or if you want to spend it in your apartment drinking yourself sick. It’s okay to hate the holiday, and for it to make you feel depressed, bitter and angry. Most importantly, it’s okay to cry about it, to let it all out. Feel the hurt, no matter how small you feel or how big it feels. Even for those of you who’s moms are still alive, but you no longer talk to, you’re allowed to grieve too.
Remind yourself that she may be gone, but you are still here.
I am still here.