Brightly colored displays announcing “Mother’s Day” are everywhere. Restaurants are promoting mouthwatering edible delights; last year (2014) 31% of adults bought flowers or plants as Mother’s Day gifts. 120 million cards are given and National Jeweler boasts Americans are expected to spend a total of $4.3 billion on jewelry for Mother’s Day — talk about cha-ching!
Well, this is my 22nd year as a mother missing her son, and my 11th year as a daughter missing her mother and it’s still difficult for me to physically enter a retail establishment, check email and read any magazine or newspaper with all the advertising focused on Mother’s Day. My way-back machine takes me to experiences long ago, wondering what we would be doing today to prepare for Mother’s Day. I get heart tugs and tears flow freely when I purchase celebratory greeting cards for my aunts, nieces, cousins and girlfriends – most with children living and breathing. Tears are flowing now as I write this. Listening to all the excited chatter and activities associated with Mother’s Day is still a hard and bitter pill to swallow.
My son Erick died in 1992 after a battle with a multitude of heath challenges. While my son was alive, and even after he passed away, my mother would send the most beautiful floral arrangements to my office with cards that read: “Happy Mother’s Day Mommy. Love, Erick”; the icing on the cake would be crayoned artwork to hang on my refrigerator and in my office cubicle.
One might think or even say that after all these years I’d be “over it” – way beyond the sad and melancholy feelings…well I’m not over it! I accept that my son is in heaven with the Lord, no longer in any pain or suffering, and I sure do miss him. Erick’s legacy lives on through our non-profit organization, Erick’s Place. As Phyllis Sudman might put it, Erick contributes to this world from another place by helping families with medically fragile/special needs children. I send cards to the Moms in my family, my girlfriends and colleagues and every few years I participate in the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer walk on Mother’s Day to celebrate Moms and individuals who have either survived or succumbed to breast cancer. I’ve even sent myself a Mother’s Day card, because I’m still a Mom.
My amazing husband, Rosy, supports me tremendously during this time, even with his own mother being deceased. We may celebrate the day with family and friends or relax at home, just the two of us. When we stay home, Rosy will prepare one of my favorite meals: his perfectly-seasoned fried chicken with rice & gravy, greens and maybe a biscuit (we will not be eating that this year though, too many carbs).
Phyllis Sudman’s article for Huffington Post, Mother’s Day After Losing a Child, reminded me that while being without my son on Mother’s Day is painful, I’m so blessed to have had the experience, time and person to love in my son Erick. I am forever grateful for the lessons my son taught me while he was here, which continue to encourage me today; to do what I can, where I am, with the resources available to help children with special medical needs and their families.
For all the Moms whose children have preceded them in death, know this: your courage and fortitude to stand tall and proud as Mothers is a blessing that aids other Mothers who are newly facing the journey we’ve already been on.
Happy Mother’s Day!