This is one of my most beloved pictures of my Mom from when I was young. Here we are ( I am on the stool clutching the next book to read), my cousins and me listening intently to Mom read us a story. I loved when she read to me which was something she did every day. Today in my life I hold that love in my life by my own love of books and reading and even working in a library. Books are one of those things I am passionate about and even collect not just to read but to hold, smell, hug and treasure.
It’s Mother’s Day today. I am going through this day with a lot of mixed feelings. It’s a happy day of celebrating my Mom but it is mixed with fear, anxiety when I wonder if she will be here next year to celebrate or will she only be here in my memories. I am treasuring Mom today like she was a precious jewel. I played hooky from church to be at home with her. I have given her a gift, a poem and I made her a bouquet from my own garden of spring flowers and put them in my sterling silver baby cup. I washed her sheets so she will have fresh sheets to crawl into bed tonight. I am getting her one of her favourite meals from a nearby restaurant for us to enjoy tonight. I am making her a favourite dessert – coconut cream pie. I want this day to be not any Mother’s day but one that I can say I did my best to show my love to this amazing woman I call my mother.
You see, it has not always been this way. There were years when I did not want anything to do with Mother’s Day because I was bitter and angry towards her. I had deep hurts in me that would fester constantly and I struggled for years with feelings of shame, inferiority and abandonment. I had a huge hole in me that would not be filled where the security of knowing my Mom loved me and cared about me was empty, dark and engulfing. This hole overwhelmed me for a good portion of my life.
It was only after Mom came to live with me 3 and a half years ago that healing began to happen as I had to forgive and love this woman in order to take care of her in a way that I had promised my Dad I would when he died. I had grown up believing it was biblical and right to honour your mother and your father. I never let my Mom know the deep hurt I had from her. I always kept that inside of me and asked God to take care of it. I never wanted to hurt Mom and have her know she did not do the job I wished she had done. I bore the hurt silently in her midst always wanting her to love me. As I have taken care of Mom these last few years, washing her clothes, getting her meals, injecting her with insulin and wiping up urine I felt my own desire to be loved slowly be replaced by a great desire to love her. And as I recognized the autistic traits in her, I came to understand by leaps and bounds why she was the way she was. She was not out to hurt me ever. She just always did not know how to love me the way I wanted or needed to be loved. She did not understand that the words she often said would sting every time she said them and cause bitter tears. She was just telling family stories, her own recollections. Living with Mom, I saw her in a whole new light. A fragile, needy woman who had her own fears, anxieties and depression. And I just continue to love her more and more each day. I have a deep compulsion to protect her, to comfort her and to shower her with the best of everything I have to offer.
I want you to know this was not possible in my own strength. It has been through the grace of God, his love flowing through me to her, his strength to carry on each day when it felt like all I wanted to do was quit. I rely on this strength every moment. This is the hardest job I have ever done in my life. Although I have healed so much and there is now no longer an empty, gaping wound in my soul, I now strangely enough, have another problem. Because now I don’t want to lose her now that I have found her and feel loved by her. I finally for the first time in my life feel accepted by her and now I could lose her any day. BUT… I have a precious gift that I now carry with me daily. When my Mom goes on to Heaven, I will have no regrets. I will have no bitterness, no anger. I have peace, a blessed peace that is beyond understanding. God’s peace. These 3 years have been the hardest of my life but they come with the greatest reward ever – the reward of no regrets and the reward of getting to know my Mom as she really is and not as I thought she was. Life is not easy but life is good. And today is a GOOD day. It’s a celebration of a mother and daughter who have come through the fire and have been transformed into a precious pair of diamonds. We are survivors – Mom and me. Happy Mother’s Day Mom. I love you so so much.