First Mother’s Day Without Mom

Mother’s Day 2011 arrives on Sunday, May 8th. In 2010, I was one of the lucky people who could give their mothers’ a hug and kiss on that holiday. A mere two weeks following last year’s celebration brought devastating news to my family-my mother had stage IV colon cancer. Statistics I read at that time said she would probably die within eight months. She died six months after diagnosis.

Memories flood my mind when thinking of my mom. I now own the first Mother’s Day gift I remember giving her-a paper with my then four year old handprints dated 1982. I was almost five years old when the gift was made and this year my own daughter is five. In 1982, my mom was 33 years old when I gave her that gift and I will be 33 during the holiday this year. I have vague memories of making her the handprint gift. In my four year old mind my mother was old in 1982. Twenty-nine years later I am under the painful awareness that my mom would never live to be old. I am the age she was in 1982.

It is incredibly sad to reflect on previous Mother’s Day holidays this year. I miss my mother so much just writing this brings tears to my eyes. In 2010, I wrote about how I couldn’t imagine the pain of losing my mom and in 2011 the pain is a reality. When my mind creeps forward to May 8th, I feel overwhelmed. I feel jealous many others have their moms. An overwhelming grip of sadness washes over me with remembering past holidays. A large part of me wants to stay in bed on May 8th. I don’t want to move forward. I want to teleport to 2003 to relive when my mom told me “Happy Mother’s Day” and I had the earliest glimpses of the sacrifices mothers make. My son was born seven months after that holiday.

Life cannot be lived backward. I will not remain in bed on May 8th or any other day for that reason. My mother loved living life more than I do. I want to be just like her.

My mom kept my long-ago handprint gift for her in her box of photographs. I have always been a fan of going through pictures and seeing how much people change throughout the years. The fascination with my childhood handprints and how much they changed was an integral part of my youth. In the midst of a cancer relapse, I wondered if my hands would grow any larger. Eventually my hands did cease growing but I haven’t.

This year I plan to take out the Mother’s Day handprints made of my children from 2004-2010. I may leave them in my boxes of photographs. My mom left her handprints on my heart. I live to leave my handprints on theirs.