On Grief: Mother's Day without a Mom.

The way I see it, I have two ways to approach Mother's Day 2014:

1.) I can ignore the world, including my email inbox, TV commercials, facebook, instagram and pretty much everything social-media related this week. Self preservation.


2.) I can take a deep breath and be thankful for the 34 years I got with Shirl.


This morning FTD.com was kind enough to send me an email to suggest that since I sent my Mom flowers last year, I'd probably would want to do the same thing again this year.

Vera Bradley has also let me know that my Mom would love a new bag.

The list goes on and on.

Each time I read "Your Mom..." and "Don't forget..." I'm like, "Cowboy, I can't forget. It's woven into the fabric of who I am, at this point. Boom."

And, I know it's woven into the fabric of the lives of others besides me, as well.


Right after she died I was ushered into a solemn and supportive club. It was the, "Our Moms have Died" club. The members are kind and sympathetic and empathetic and strong and courageous and real.

In the haze that followed her death, I felt like there was immediately two camps in life: those with a Mom and those without a Mom.

Now, as the haze is clearing (a bit), I see that it's not so cut and dry.

Because there are those among us who may have a Mom, but she might be distant or prone to hurting us.
She might not be good at follow through or she might have an addiction that's gotten the best of her. There are those of us who have a Mom who might be more like a child; requiring parenting herself. There are those among us whose Moms didn't hug us, or read to us... 

There are those among us who have Moms, but then again, don't really...

I understand that now. And I respect it.


I'm thankful that I had a Mom who was, for all intents and purposes, real. And mine.

I still find myself tightly squeezing my eyes shut and saying silently in my head, "Wait a minute. What happened? She's what? No. She's not. This can't be real."

The reality is that Shirl has been dead for nearly 8 months.

I haven't talked to my Mom for EIGHT MONTHS. She hasn't breathed a breath for 8 months.


But I'm thankful for her. That I had her.

I'm thankful that her life was difficult, but joyous.
I'm thankful that her laugh was contagious and kind.
I'm thankful for those hugs I'd shrug off in public.
I'm thankful for the arguments.
I'm thankful that she never backed down with me.
I'm thankful for it all.
The good. The really good. The bad. And the really bad.

Do I wish she was still here so that I could give her a brand new Vera Bradley bag on Mother's Day?

Yes, absolutely.

The truth is, though, she'd rather have some sort of appliance, a huge plate of snow crab legs and a couple flats of annuals.

So, I'm going to try with all of my might to be thankful, maybe a little wistful, but filled with love.

It's an experiment. Let's see how it goes.


--The Story of Loss. On Losing my Mom.
September 9, 2013  ::  The day I found out ::  Post here.
September 16, 2013  ::  It's One Week today  ::  Post here.
September 25, 2013  :: The Call  ::  Post here.
September 30, 2013  ::  Slivers of Sunlight  ::  Post here.
October 6, 2013  ::  That first week.Those first days :: Post here.
October 14, 2013  ::  14 days after  ::  Post here.
October 20, 2013  ::  I found a treasure  ::  Post here.
November 4, 2013  ::  She's been gone for 4 weeks  :: Post here.
November 13, 2013  ::  I smile and drive and cry and smile and cry  :: Post here.
November 17, 2013  ::  Weekends aren't easy  :: Post here.
November 26, 2013  ::  The holidays, the firsts  ::  Post here.
December 1, 2013  ::  8 weeks  :: Post here.
December 10, 2013  ::  The Dream  :: Post here.
December 19, 2013  ::  Vulnerability and Moving Forward  ::  Post here.
December 22, 2013  ::  The reminders. They're everywhere  ::  Post here.
December 29, 2013  :: 2013  :: Post here.
January 1, 2014  ::  The New Year  :: Post here.
January 7, 2014  ::  2 days from 4 months  ::  Post here.
January 17, 2014  ::  Another Gift ::  Post here.
January 25, 2014  ::  She would have been 60 today  ::  Post here.
February 9, 2014  ::  Five months  ::  Post here.
March 6, 2014  ::  Almost six months  ::  Post here.
March 27, 2014  ::  One of the Best Gifts Ever  ::  Post here.
April 1, 2014  ::  We're all in this together  ::  Post here.
April 24, 2014 :: 7 Months, Easter and Nope, I'm still not normal.  ::  Post here.



  1. So, rough day today... finding myself shutting out the tasks that I have been doing ceaselessly to just sit and cry, to remember... to grieve. Thanks for sharing your Mom, I only saw her a few times, she always had a smile, someone I remember thinking, "she looks like a great lady, a great Mom". Still praying for you on this journey... just caught up on your last 3 posts on grieving, thank you for sharing your grief... know that as you honor your Mom, it really is shared, unfortunately that doesn't make it less painful, does it? Hugs, prayers and warm wishes being sent your way, my friend.

  2. i loved this, friend. i enjoy reading your words about realizations that sometimes we're more alike than we are different. these ups and downs and ebbs and flows of life... sigh.
    i wish you had Shirl, with all my might I do.
    love you, Miss

  3. thanks for continuing to share from your heart. thinking of you, and many others, as this weekend comes.

  4. Thinking of you and others who've lost their moms -- I hope you can enjoy the day as a mom, too. I will. :) -Bridget (new mom)

  5. All the love in the world will be sent your way this Mother's Day.
    I will be in Michigan with my mom, but we will be saying good bye to my grandma... My heart is with you and I will celebrate the experience you did and I will celebrate you as a mom, because you, you are incredible. And this Sunday I will send all the juju I can to honor you and your role as a mama. xoxoxo

  6. My sweet sister....there is a third option. Ready for it?

    You can sit back and allow yourself to be celebrated for the incredible momma you are two my simply perfect nieces. You an allow your husband to celebrate you for being the mother of his babies.....in other words...this day is one of the only days you can truly allow to be about YOU and what YOU mean to YOUR babies. Embrace it.....bask in it and let yourself feel every bit of how great it is to be Lila and Vivi's mommy....just like you gave your mom when you were a little girl. She lovingly celebrated her mother's day thanking God for her Kylee when you were the girls' ages...I know and remember this. Allow yourself the same gift, please....soon enough there won't be the sweet little girl hugs and overwhelming and outspoken love that comes with being a perfectly perfect in every way mom (believe me!)....

    Mother's day is also about being a mom! And you are a wonderful one that should be celebrated...whole heartedly and without sadness (same for Taryn), your mom felt that and she would say the same.



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