Mother’s Day Without a Mom
It feels kind of weird. I imagine it would be worse if the stores were fully open because I’d be seeing little things to get my mom. She loved little things, multiple packages to open, no matter what was inside. Tissues? Great! A new tube of deodorant? Very thoughtful! Something, anything green? Perfect! Anything with the Reds logo? Love it! That was my mom.
There is still a lot to celebrate. I’m a mom. I’m a grandmother. I adore the mothers of my grandchildren. I have a terrific mother-in-law!
I have been blessed beyond measure without a doubt!
I have wonderful memories about my mom. It took me awhile, though, to allow those memories to surface. My mother had dementia and grew increasingly difficult to deal with in her final years. She was still loving and pleasant, just not all the time.
There were difficult moments as I had to make difficult decisions for her. There was family strife while making those decisions. I was frankly exhausted from not only the tension, but also the 2 hour drive each way when I went to visit her or to take care of business for her. When she passed away last summer just a few days after her 90th birthday, I felt as though I’d already traveled through most of the grieving process. As her memory faded, I lost bits and pieces of her and of our relationship. I honestly at that time could only remember the bad times. Even before this happened to her, the memories were of arguments or her lack of cooking skills or her willingness to enable certain family members who took advantage of her. I came to terms with that when I realized that it would take time to remember the “old” mom. And it did. The good memories finally came through. Like this one:
And this one:
And lots more because she was so goofy!
So that’s why I’m celebrating Mother’s Day not with tears but with joy.
Take My Advice
If you still have your mother and/or your grandmothers (any family member of a previous generation for that matter) ask questions. Take notes. Make videos. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say, “I wish I would have asked her/him about xyz.” Celebrate Mother’s Day that way. Even if you think you’ve heard the stories before.
Questions you might ask:
Was there ever a time when you remember people having to adjust because of a pandemic (polio, flu, something else?) What changes do you remember taking place and how did that make you feel?
How did you meet Dad (Mom, Grandma, Grandpa…)?
How did you get engaged?
What is your earliest memory?
How was your family affected by The Great Depression? (WWII, the Vietnam War, the Cold War, the Recession?)
What meal was your favorite growing up?
Tell me about the first car you owned. (House, pet…)
Did your parents force you to go to church when you were a kid? Why or why not?
What are your memories about watching the first moon landing? (Day JFK was assassinated, 911…)
Using questions will help guide the conversation so that you don’t hear the same things over and over. Try to think about the things you may be curious about later.
However you define family. There are lots of ways, but you know who the people are you’re closest to. Many of you have been spending time in the house with them, and others you’ve kept in touch with by email, video, and over the phone. Get yourself a journal and start recording those memories, including your own. Are you keeping a pandemic journal? If not, start today! Future generations will want to know what we thought about and how we handled 2020. Write down your thoughts because in the future someone may forget to ask!