On Mother’s Day (And I Swear I’m Not Going To Cry This Year)

This day. It’s always so bittersweet for me. On one hand, for weeks leading up to it with all those Mother’s Day ads all up in my face, it is just a knife to the heart. Mother’s Day before my mom passed was a perfunctory sort of thing but now what I wouldn’t give to celebrate my mom and spend some quality time with her. But on the other hand, I get to celebrate the fact that for 20-ish years of my life I had an amazing and inspiring mom — which is something I realize I was lucky to have because some people don’t ever get that. Brain cancer may have taken her away but it can’t take away those memories and the things I’ve learned from her and from losing her. It’s all shaped the person I am and I’m quite happy with that person — flaws and all…though obviously those are a work in progress.

Last year I apparently made lots of people cry with my Mother’s Day post so I vowed not to do that again. But if you want to want to hear my story + find out why I read books dealing with grief so much, read last year’s post. And then the year before I talked about being a motherless daughter on Mother’s Day.

So instead let’s do some lists?

 

6 Things I Will Do To Honor My Mom This Mother’s Day:

 

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1. Drink some wine (or a daquiri if I can swing it because those were her faves).

2. Listen to some Jimmy Buffet — my mom was a huge Jimmy Buffet fan and I’m already crying (I broke my vow yeah?) as I type this but here’s a story from the day she passed on July 2, 2006. My stepdad came up to my room and told us (he’s in the medical field and knows all the things) that my mom’s breathing was really indicating she was in her final couple of days. We were shaken but we knew it was coming. He told us to still go to the pool party we were heading out to and, before we did, we spent a little extra time in the living room with her (she was not at all there at this point) talking to her and hoping she heard us which is something I didn’t always do before I left. But we did and before we left we were like, “Hey, let’s put some Jimmy Buffet on for her.” And we did. Cheeseburger in Paradise. And we kissed her and said we loved her and we left. 15 minutes later we got a call from my stepdad to come home because it wasn’t looking good. We drove home as fast as we could but we didn’t make it. But, in a way, I was okay with that. She passed with my stepdad (who is the very definition of selfless) and her mother and the sounds of Jimmy Buffet around her. We even played good ol’ Jimmy lightly in the background at her viewing because my mother would have hated the crap they were playing. So this is an important one.

3. Honor + celebrate Will’s mom (and call my stepmom) — When my mom first passed, I refused to do anything Mother’s Day related except hang with my sis and stepdad and even though that was hard for me too at first because I just really wanted to curl up in bed. Now, I’m better with it and we spend Mother’s Day with Will’s mom. I know my mom would want me to take the time to get to know Will’s mom and be thankful for the love she’s shown me. It’s really strange for me that Will never got to meet my mom but I’m happy that I get to know his. It’s a weird day for Will too because the mom I speak of is actually his stepmom that has pretty much always been his mom because his mom passed when he was 4.

4. Do something special for my sister — My sister is my best friend and it wasn’t always so. We were best friends growing up, HATED each other in high school and college and once she told me she was pregnant (with Genevieve) we became best friends again. My mom had a rocky relationship with her sister and I know it got a lot better when she got sick but she always used to tell us we were going to need each other some day. And she was right. Oh so right. My sister has her two babies but she’s also a stepmom and things have been really rough there lately so she deserves some special kindness.

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5. Wear purple — My mom’s favorite color was purple. And not just like in the way that someone just says it’s their favorite color. Like with her WHOLE BEING purple was her favorite color. So many purple things in our house. Oh god, it’s kind of like me with the color yellow. I am so my mother.

6. Reach out to the other motherless daughters (and sons) in my life: Sometimes it’s hard to say everything happens for a reason but I firmly believe in doing the best I can with whatever happens. Sometimes I want to be selfish and wallow in my own sadness but through the years I’ve had this urge to show love to those who are also going through this. It’s a hard day no matter the awesome stepmoms or MILs or mother-like figures you have in your life to shower with love. My mom was always there for her people and I know she’d want me to do the same.

 

6 Things I Miss About My Mom

I can’t even begin to tell you all the things I miss about her that I took forgranted but here are 6 big things.

1. How she laughed — Oh my god. My mom. When she laughed, she really laughed. She would laugh reallyyyy silently and you weren’t sure if she was breathing but you saw her whole body moving. And then all of a sudden she would let out this crazy snort/wheeze thing and she would be crying. It was the kind of laugh that made the rest of us die laughing. Sometimes I had no idea what we were laughing about.

2. How she danced — My mom was the one who made me have no shame for dancing like a fool. You might think she was drunk when she was dancing (but most of the time she wasn’t) but oh my god she was always the one out on the dance floor before everyone else and the last one being dragged off. I have the BEST picture at a family friend’s wedding reception of my mom crazy dancing and some of my guy friends dancing with her. It was hilarious and when I see the one particular guy friend he always laughs about it.

3. Her crazy hair — I inherited my mother’s hair for sure although mine might be less huge? My mom had the craziest, biggest curliest hair. She was like always known for it and everyone coveted it. I was not happy with my curly hair for all my life up until the past 2 years but now I can of love it and feel a bit wild letting it go curly rather than straight. Plus, everyone keeps telling me it makes me look more like my mom.

4. How she was the most motivated person I know — My mom was determined. Sometimes maybe too much but she was. She didn’t like the situation she was in so she got out of it. She worked hard balancing work and advancing her career while being divorced from my dad. The amazing growth she had in her career is inspiring because I know how hard she worked and how determined she was to get there. My mom was working on her MBA when she got diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor and told she had 6 months to live (she lived almost 2 years beyond that). What did she do? She kept going with it and she finished all her coursework — a week later she had a major seizure because of the tumor which really made things deteriorate. But she still walked across that stage to get that degree she earned with my stepdad holding her up most of the way.

5. How she was ALWAYS the life of the party — My mom and I did not really get along for most of my teenage life. Like really bad. I moved out for a month because things got so bad between us. One of those things I always thought I’d have time to fix when I “grew up.” But there was still this undeniable magic I always observed when she was with people. She always had that sparkle and mischief in her eyes, everyone wanted to talk to her and she just always was the person whose light shined the brightest and whose smile was the first one you’d see. Amidst all our struggles, I miss that about her. Even if that wasn’t always directed at me…I miss seeing it.

6. How she was SO obnoxiously passionate about her Florida Gators: Oh dear God. If you were a fan of the team playing the Gators, you would want to leave. She was a Florida girl through and through and hated living up North. Watching a sporting event with her was the greatest when it included the Gators. Especially when the Gators would play my stepdad’s team. It made football ten times more fun.

 

So Happy Mother’s Day to all you mommas and future mommas out there! And extra love to those without your mom’s this year or to those who aren’t on good terms with theirs. XOXO. And I’d love to hear about your mom and your relationship and anything you want to tell me about your mom because mother/daughter relationships are of so much interest to me these days.

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 30 year old married lady who is in denial that she's actually that old. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, listening to music with oversized headphones and having adventures with her husband and dog.

Comments

  1. I’m definitely going to have to drink some strawberry daiquiris, eat some Twizzlers, and blast Bon Jovi tomorrow to honor my mom – crazy to think it’s been 13 years without her…

    • *hugs* Sending you love today! I will be drinking a daiquiri with you in spirit! ALSO..good idea..my mom’s favorite candy was Dots so I should pick up some of them! It’s been 8 years for me and I just…can’t believe it at all. How does time go by that fast? <33

      • Sending lots o’ love and happy thoughts your way as well Jamie *hugs*

        I’m going to call my aunt and boyfriend’s mom to thank them for being a mother to me when I desperately needed one. They deserve so much credit for the (relatively) sane, empowered, and blessed woman I am today.

  2. I lost my Mom when I was 12 (breast cancer) and this is a hard holiday for me too. And it’s a double edged blade because I so desperately want children but don’t yet. I’m at that age (29) where most of my friends have kids or are expecting, and still have their own moms around and are celebrating on both sides of motherhood. So this holiday is definitely a lonely one for me! Although I have a great MIL and a Gramma who raised me as her own, so I’m super thankful for those relationships. I have always appreciated your posts about your mom, and I especially love this one with ways to honor her! I would love to use this idea to blog about, or journal about, or just post on Facebook. Happy Mother’s Day!

    • Sending you love, Trina! <33 I am also at that age (28) and I feel like most of my friends are celebrating as well. We aren't necessarily trying but I still feel out of the loop there! I definitely think writing about it is good! It always feels really good for me personally! If not, all my thoughts and feelings stay bottled up in my head and heart! Thinking of you today!

      • 🙂 You’ve inspired me to wear purple today, which was also my mom’s favorite color. Next year I think I’d like to start a tradition of making some of her favorite recipes.

  3. I know I’ve said it before and I’ll inevitably say it again, but thank you. Thank you for being a constant source of inspiration. Your maturity and grace, even in the wake of unimaginable pain and loss, is a lesson to us all. In short? Thank you for being you 🙂

    I think it’s all too easy to take the people in our lives for granted or for days like today to become little apart from perfunctory holidays with only the barest of acknowledgements as to their true significance. I’m grateful that you’ve reminded me to be thankful for even the smallest of moments with the ones I love and how blessed I am to have two parents who I love, and who love me in return. As an only child I’ve always been extremely close with both of my parents and I try to tell them how much they mean to me often, but on the days when this doesn’t come as easily, I know I’ll think back to posts like this one and remember to be kinder, both to them as well as to myself.

    Thinking of you and sending all the love and positivity I possibly can <3 As I (hope) you know by now, I'm always here if you ever need to talk.

  4. Melissa @ Writer Grrl Reads says:

    I’m bawling — this is such a beautiful post! Thank you for your sincerity. This Mother’s Day, I will snuggle Marko extra tightly and pray that I will be a part of all his tomorrows.

  5. Jamie, you did make me cry! But they’re happysadloving sort of tears, and I just want to give you a huge hug and tell you how amazing you and your words are. And also my relationship with my mom is very hit or miss, and sometimes she is the greatest person in the world and sometimes… well, sometimes not. But its’ gotten so much better now that we no longer live together, and she splits time between NYC and LA. Which sometimes sucks, because she wasn’t in town for my birthday, nor will she be in town for Mother’s Day. But you’ve kind of inspired me to try and work harder on my relationship with my mom.

    Also I’m totally wearing purple right now. And now I can say I’m doing it to honor your mom! 🙂 Lots of love and daiquiris coming your way, and I can’t wait to see you soon and give you real life hugs!

  6. Oh Jamie *hugs* thank you for sharing such wonderful yet heartwarming memories with is. I can’t even imagine the loss and pain you feel. I’m loving that you’re focusing on all the memories surrounding you and your mom and family. You have shown courage and strength, resilience and determination. Thank you for this <3

  7. This is a beautiful post Jamie. So moving.

  8. I am so sorry to hear about your mother. My mum passed away on Tuesday after a battle with lung cancer. I am still trying to come to terms with it and I just cannot fathom how I am going to be able to cope with the emptiness I feel at losing her.

    Your mother sounds like a very special person. You are handling her loss with such grace, I can only hope that one day I will be able to do the same.

    My thoughts are with you. <3

  9. You said that you wouldn’t make us readers cry, but I have tears streaming down my face. My mom is so important to me and I can’t imagine the pain you must have coming from losing your mom. I so sorry what happened to her and to your whole family, but I’m glad that you’re honouring her memory still years after her passing away. I’m sending you a power hug!

  10. My sweet friend, Jamie <3 Through this bond you've become such an important person in my life. In a way, we have our mothers to thank for that. Even when they're no longer here with us, they are still looking out for their girls. I love you & I love this post. Makes me want to remember & celebrate what I do have, instead of what I don't have anymore. Thank you for that.

  11. Oh Jamie, you had me crying! This is so beautifully written…I’m sure your mom is looking down so proud of the wonderful person you’ve become. xoxox

  12. I lost my mom when I was 17, 11 years ago now, suddenly to a heart attack. Mother’s Day is so bittersweet. I’m super greatful for all the good memories I have with her, but it’s hard having kids and they never got a chance to meet her. What a lovely post though. I think one day I’d like to put together something like this, maybe for her birthday this year. Thanks for sharing, I know how hard it is to put things like this out there.

  13. Rosalee says:

    This was such a sweet post – what a wonderful way to honor your mother on this day. My mom is also obsessed with purple! We have a huge purple couch that is famous among all of our friends for being so comfy. Your mother sounds like she was an amazing person. I’m sorry she was taken from you so soon.

  14. You really make me realise how incredibly lucky I am to have my mam. It’s just me and her and we always say it’s the two of us against the world. We had a terrible relationship when I was growing up but now she’s my best friend. We still fight like crazy, especially since it’s just the two of us in the house, but we always are sure to make up. I’d do anything for her and I’m sure she’d do anything for me.

    This may be a little forward of me but I have to say it, I think your mother would be really proud of you. And I don’t mean that in a “I’m just saying it” kind of way. You’re a really beautiful woman who is incredibly well spoken (if your writing is any indication). From what I’ve seen of you trying to get a job, you’re obviously just as driven as your mother. Anybody can see from your posts, comments and even your twitter, just how kind-hearted and welcoming you are.

    I hope you make the most of this mother’s day, even if you can only spend it with your mother in spirit!

  15. Another great post about your Mom. I was thinking about how much it hurts leading up to Mother’s Day too. Last year was harder for me because it was the first without my Mom and when people would say “I have no idea what to get for my Mom”, I would get teary eyed thinking ‘I don’t even get the think up a gift for mine anymore’.

    This year was a little easier… I brought my mother-in-law something she just loved and that made me happy. Now just to call my Sis and Gramma, but I’m not ready yet.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts about missing your Mom, it helps to know we’re not alone in this. *hugs*

  16. I still cried, but thank you for this beautiful post <3 Definitely going to go give my mom a hug now (although she's napping so maybe later – I guess she's allowed to be lazy on her day!).

  17. Okay, so I teared up because you know your emotions are so strong here and like your love really, really shows for your mom and if tv commercials about bringing babies home and buying Carters clothing make me tear up, then by god a post by one of my favorite people talking about their mother, someone so dear and important to their heart is going to have me welling in the eyes.

    Jamie, you are so awesome and I think your mom would be proud of the woman you’ve become.

    Anyways, I just want to say that I am glad that you are able to celebrate your mom and also to celebrate your family.

  18. This is such a beautiful way to celebrate your mom on Mother’s Day! I’m sure she would be proud of the person you are these days, and happy that you’re happy with your life for the most part. The things you’ve shared are absolutely wonderful. Lots of love for you, J <3

  19. I love this, Jamie. Such wonderful and beautiful thoughts and different ways to honor your mom. She sounds like she was an amazing person. I can’t even imagine not having my Mom around. You’re an awesome person and I’m sure your mom is super proud of you. *virtual hugs*

  20. This is a really beautiful posts that honors and celebrates your mom. I didn’t know her but she sounds like an awesome lady.

  21. Your blog post is SO touching and emotional. I love reading your posts about your mom.
    I took your idea kinda in my post – http://thebrokenshelf.com/i-hate-mothers-day-2/
    Mine isn’t as heart warming as yours. I think it’s because I’m still dealing with the loss (my dad just past away last year and that was SOO hard for me to deal with since I’d been taking care of him). When I was writing mine, I was crying too. There is just this emptiness in my heart from missing both my parents that I don’t think will ever – EVER go away. It’s just something that I think I will just have to live with…

  22. I love this post. I miss my mom every day too. I lost her to cancer when I was 24 years old. The part that makes me so sad is that now she’s been gone almost as long as I had her with me. (Can I really be that old? I don’t feel it). My grief seeps into my writing too, often times without me even realizing it. And I always honor my sister on Mother’s Day. It makes me feel better. Thanks for sharing.

  23. Sorry I’m SO behind on commenting but I loved this post, Jamie. It made me cry and I wish your mom could be here still on Mother’s Day but I’m so happy you’ve reunited with your sister and still have a great family to be there with you instead. It’s okay if you cry every year! I don’t know how I could handle losing my mom. I love all the things you stated to remember her by. Such a lovely and moving post <3

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