Do you ever look in the mirror and feel someone there? Please know that is me. Do you ever feel someone grab your hand out of nowhere yet look around and no one is there? Please know that is me as well. Do you ever feel a warmth in your heart when you’re having a bad day? Yes, that is me too. We’re bonded for life mama. Just you and me.
This journey we walk together as motherless mothers, this fight we endure each and every day as motherless mothers, this emptiness that we just cannot seem to shake as motherless mothers is turbulent and messy. We are in this secret society and acceptance into our circle does not bring a level of status, it does not provide a sense of accomplishment nor does it give you a lifetime pass to anywhere. In fact you receive the lifetime achievement award for loneliness and unspeakable pain. It’s just you and me mama.
I want you to know that you are not alone. I need you to know that you are not alone. That I am crying with you. That I too have moments where I pick up the phone to call her, but that moment is only that, a moment. It’s not our reality. I too feel the anxiety of Mother’s Day every year and would rather be visiting her with the kids instead of visiting her grave. I too feel that I have to keep it together that much more, be that much stronger, because I’m forced to make these parenting decisions without her. I too feel resentment, and am overcome with envy, when I see other moms with their moms enjoying lunch, enjoying time in the park, or enjoying anything together for that matter. That feeling of resentment is also met with a feeling of guilt because it’s truly not fair to begrudge anyone for what they have simply because I don’t. I too feel irritated when someone says to us, “Your mother is always with you,” because you know what? That’s bullshit. No she is not, not even close and not how I want her to be. I want her here in the physical sense with me sharing in my everyday life. I wanted to see her when I came out of the delivery room. I wanted to have her home with me when I was on maternity leave and hug me thru the depression and anxiety. I want to be able to watch my kids run up to her and say, “Grandma!” I want her to smile and laugh at me because I do or say things that remind her of herself when she was a young mom. I want her to not have been robbed of being a grandparent. I want to call her when I am crying from exhaustion because two toddlers have run me over repeatedly and I need her to come save me. I want to be able to call her in the middle of the night if I need reassurance about the kids being sick or if I’m just scared about life. I want my kids to know her and have another grandparent in their life to spoil them, be proud of them, cheer them on, dote on them and make them feel even more loved than they already do. I want to be able to sit with her over coffee, grab her hand, and say “thank you,” not just as her daughter but also as a mother. I want to tell her how grateful I am for all that she sacrificed, how much I admire her and how much I respect her. I want the chance to tell her, “I see you now. I get it.”
Mama I know how you’re still grieving even if it is many years later. I know what a toll it has taken on you to go it alone. I know the void that you walk around with. It’s hard being us. But I want to tell you what I also know. I know that the pain has made us stronger. The loneliness has in some way forced us to become more independent and that independence, in an odd way, has brought an empowerment along with it. We now have a renewed sense of gratitude. We no longer take the small things in life for granted and we learn to appreciate each day that we are given and how blessed we are to have our health, our family and those we truly love. We also hold these people a little closer than most. I know that we are normal. Yes, while it may not feel that way, I’m certain that we are normal. I know that we are not defined by these circumstances, but we are defined by our resilience. I know that we are showing our children that the only way to face an obstacle is by going thru it. We are showing them that life is full of the unexpected but that it’s important to show up, put one foot in front of the other and keep going. We have the heart of a warrior and are true survivors as we have gotten here by going thru our worst. We are not the victim, we are the hero.
I know this because I am you.