By Susan Diamond
I’m out for lunch with a new friend. She is complaining about her mother.
“Of course you understand, everyone has issues with their mother.”
No. I don’t understand. I never had an “issue” with my mother.
I had the best mother. My mom was the cool one, the smart one. The mom who was there when I needed her and the one who allowed me to do my own thing when being independent was my thing.
And today, it’s the first Mother’s Day without my mother. Even though I celebrate her wonderful, full, and happy life, I’m in mourning. I can still count the time of her passing in weeks. Eight plus 2 days.
(break for tissue)
It’s my daughter Rachel’s first Mother’s day. Maeve was born in February. My mom prayed incessantly for two things most important to her.
1. To see Rachel get married.
2. To see Rachel have a baby.
Done and Done.
So how does a daughter who has had sixty-five years of Mother’s Day with her mom, spend this first Sunday in May without her?
By remembering her.
I push past recent memories of the old lady who took over my mother’s frail body.
I reach first for the thirty-something mom of my childhood. She’s rocking a short Sassoon haircut with the long side bang, slim ankle pants, and a sleeveless sweater. She’s driving me and my friends to the shopping center. We’re in an orange Firebird convertible, with a white leather interior, and the top is down.
I’m in my college dorm room. My mom is getting ready to say goodbye. We’re both crying and hugging so hard I think I might break her. Then we start laughing. She leaves, shutting the door behind her, but not without a final air kiss.
The first time I get married (yes, there was more than one husband). The birth of my son, next my daughter. Sharing happiness.
Then I remember the time our world was shattered by a cheating husband. And my mom lived the pain with me. She pulled me out of my misery though she was sinking too.
And then we’re on top again.
Better off without him.
My mom is my co-parent until my truly beloved comes along. A new family is formed. Oh, how my mom and I rejoice together! I’m in the place I was meant to be with the man who is meant for me.
My mom is always nearby. We’re never farther than a bike ride away.
Birthdays, graduations, new babies, weddings. So much to celebrate together. So much to do together. More time to be together.
Mom is older now – the age I am now. Still looking good, feeling good, living well. Daily phone calls. Too many visits to Florida to count.
The mitzvahs multiply. Our matriarch is ecstatic with her ever-growing family.
My mom’s enthusiasm for a new baby is never diminished. The greats are coming now. She is in her 70’s, 80’s, 90’s – my mom can be found on the floor playing with the newest baby. Four generations strong. She’s having fun and she is fun. She’s adored and cherished.
No one takes her for granted, least of all me.
It’s her funeral
. The painful part of dying is over. We all remember the good times. One by one, we share the memories. Her easy disposition. Her cooking. Her style. Her love.
“How are you doing?” Thoughtful people ask me.
“Perfect!” I reply. “I’m not sad. My mom lived the best life. A long life. The life she always wanted.”
And she told us that.
But, near the end, she was ready to move on. We weren’t enough for her. She’d see us later.
She missed her honey, my dad. She wanted to see her parents again, her brother, her cousin.
And now, on Mother’s Day, I couldn’t be happier that she is where she is, and I am where I am. Together in spirit.
Then why are there tears on my keyboard and a mountain of tissue in a pile on my desk?
God whispers; Because sometimes tears of joy can mix with tears of sadness and that’s okay.
I’m okay. She’s okay. It’s okay.
Happy Mother’s Day.