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motherless mother’s day

Image by Scott Smith

Image by Scott Smith

 

I’m not a mother so I’ve never been celebrated on Mother’s Day. I did, however, celebrate 27 Mother’s Days with my mum, until she died in 2006 from breast cancer.

I think about my mum every day. Her absence from my life weighs heavily. My relationship to my grief changes over time but I never cease to feel like I’m missing out. And as Mother’s Day approaches, I can’t help but feel the sting a little more.

Even the cheesiest ads, crappy homemade gifts, saccharin stories and bad poems make my heart ache with envy. What I wouldn’t do to be able to buy my mum breakfast on Mother’s Day. Or just give her a hug. I’d even take an excruciating lecture on how I could have made better life choices.

A friend of mine recently said that when she’s feeling shitty, all she has to do is be in the same room as her mum and she feels calm. That’s what I miss most. I can take the things she taught me and try to apply them to my life, but I miss her presence and her unconditional love, her unwavering steadiness, her sarcasm, her pragmatism, her Weet-Bix slice.

It’s easy when we’re feeling bad for ourselves to think that we’re alone. But I know I’m not the only person missing a mother on Mother’s Day. I count myself very lucky because I do have a lot to be grateful for on this day. I have a few close friends whose mothers also died young. Maybe it’s not for everyone, but I love having these comrades to talk to and share sad (or inappropriate) stories with. Not many people dig my self-deprecating orphan jokes. I’m always very open about the loss of my mum because when she first died and I had no clue on how to function, it helped that I found people who had experienced similar things. There’s comfort in solidarity.

Mother’s Day is the day where we honour our own mothers and celebrate all mothers. Do it every day, I say! Because trust me, it will suck really hard when your mum is gone. Mothers are amazing. It’s a relentless job that doesn’t even end after you die. My mum is still a huge part of my life. When my mum was sick, really sick, she said to me ‘this will help you build character’. I told her I didn’t want character I wanted a mum. Oh well. We don’t always get what we want. And I’m still trying to build the character she imagined I might have. Isn’t that what mums are world champions at? Being that niggling voice in your head reminding you to hold yourself to a higher standard.

On Sunday I will celebrate my mum. And maybe I’ll whip myself up a batch of her Weet-Bix slice. It sounds disgusting, but it’s delicious, really. And I’ll stop to appreciate all the mothers I have in my life and all the other mothers out there who are making the world a little bit of a better place.

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