I read this post on Georgina’s own website and asked her whether it would be okay to include it as this week’s Unmasked: stories of authenticity blog. She is so honest, so raw and vulnerable, and I know this will speak to many for whom Mothers’ Day is bitter-sweet.
I have found Mothers’ Day hard before, trying to hold in tension my gratitude for the beautiful children I have and my sadness for the one I didn’t get to keep. It is a day countless others find hard too.
This year feels like a whole new level of struggle is looming as I must face yet another difficult day, where my raw emotions will be dragged to the surface and shaken and beaten just a little more. It is six months since my sister passed away; Mothers’ Day without her is another hard ‘first’. This time last year we had no idea our worlds were about to implode. She was diagnosed a week later. Writing this poem has helped me to face it better. It is not a cry for pity or a judgment on those celebrating – just a pure reflection of my thoughts and emotions as I continue to walk this road of grief. I hope it will make fellow strugglers feel less alone.
My sister took the early slot,
Taking flowers and chocolates to Mum,
A Mothers’ Day like any other.
Her words scrawled in the card,
One of many down the years,
A relic now.
I went later,
With a now-forgotten gift,
For a glass of wine
and child-free conversation,
This year it’s just me.
I can never be enough,
Feel enough, write enough,
Say enough, do enough,
To plug the gaping hole now left,
One we hadn’t even seen coming then,
That ordinary Mothers’ Day last year.
Mothers’ Day looms.
I’ve survived it before,
The times it has threatened to suffocate me,
As a Mother, minus a child,
Taken too soon.
I’ve learned to live with that.
This time round I have a Mother and a child – two, in fact.
But Mothers’ Day threatens to swallow me whole in a different way,
As I face my own Mother,
With one child less and a pain
No gift from me can dull.
And it threatens to swallow me whole
When my niece crawls onto my lap
But with parts missing that will never be whole.
I cry as I imagine her,
Surrounded by classmates,
Gluing tissue paper to make-shift bouquets,
Wondering in her six-year old way
If Mummy still sees,
Somewhere out beyond the stars.
I’ve learned to live with the pain
And the kick-in-the-teeth,
It doles out, once a year,
Learned to count up the blessings as well as the cost.
Countless armies of others join me,
Teeth gritted through Facebook outpourings.
I’m not on my own.
But this year,
Is harder than ever.
I lock my hands for the ride,
in the tightest of grips
As the Mothers’ Day rollercoaster plummets again,
Wondering if anyone will hear my screams.