The XX Factor

Mother’s Day is For the Motherless Too

Meghan, I so feel your pain about being motherless on Mother’s Day. I lost my mother last October and have felt unmoored ever since. Losing my mother was like losing my sense of place in the world; the sense that I belonged to this one person in way that I could never belong to anyone else.

Still, instead of trying to avoid everything Mother’s Day-related, I planned to embrace the day and comfort myself with good memories of good times with my mother. Until a few days ago, I was certain I would face down Mother’s Day with aplomb and sail through the schmaltzy television commercials and radio promotions for floral arrangements, Sunday brunch reservations, and all other manner of consumerism pushed on us in the name of showing our mammas love and gratitude - without being overwhelmed by grief. I didn’t mind hearing about my friends’ plans for their mothers and I didn’t avoid walking through the aisle bursting with Mother’s Day cards at the local CVS. I read dozens of first-person pieces by writers writing about their mothers and even wrote one of my own about my mother’s late-in-life-journey to feminism.

I was good until about Thursday when the sense of loss returned to me with such force that it surprised me, and deeply saddened me. Then I reminded myself that although Mother’s Day will obviously never be the same for me, there is no rule that restricts the day to celebrating only the living. We can still honor our departed mothers by remembering the life lessons they taught us, by living up to the moral code they gave us, by modeling the limitless love they showed us - whether or not we are ourselves mothers.

Mother’s Day belong to us all, mother’s past and present and the children who love them. I, for one, am not giving it up.