Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is a day on which I could easily feel sorry for myself. Because it’s one of those annual days of celebration that makes me feel a massive hole in my life. My mum died a few years ago, so I miss her being in my life more acutely on a day on which I was used to seeing, spoiling and thanking her. Plus, I’m a single woman and not a mum myself, so I don’t have children to make a fuss of me.

Don’t worry, I’m not coming over all, “Woe is me!” I can still think about my mum and celebrate her life on Mother’s Day, just as I do on her birthday, even though she isn’t there in person. In fact I can celebrate mum’s life and our love for each other on any day, and frequently do. I like to go into my local parish church and light a candle for her, sit quietly and have a little chat, telling her all my news and imagining what she would say, and the jokes we would make.

Mum was proud of her children and asked us all to take care of each other after she was gone. Since her death, my siblings and I try to arrange a few family get-togethers each year with the immediate family. One of these is usually on a date close to mum’s birthday, the 1st of April – April Fool pranks always present. This year, of course, Mother’s Day is on 31st March, the day before. I always liked it when Mother’s Day and mum’s birthday fell close together and we could organise a double celebration. But, the closest weekend to mum’s birthdate this year had to be ruled out for our get-together, because siblings with their own children, grandchildren, in-laws, will have their own, separate Mother’s Day celebrations to attend. So we’ve arranged our larger family get-together on the following April weekend, when we will remember mum on a date that we’ve created, just as if it was her birthday and Mother’s Day rolled into one.

Every Mother’s Day now, I especially remember how pleased and proud my mum was to have become a great-grandmother, and gather four generations of her family in the same room. Mothers across all generations in a family deserve to be honoured for bearing, raising and keeping safe, new generations across the world, often in difficult circumstances. I expect I’ll be surrounded by mothers, being treated to a special Sunday lunch by family members, at the restaurant where I’m dining this Sunday: I’ve invited a friend who has also lost her mum, to have lunch with me in honour of both our mums, who will be with us in spirit on their special day.

The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness. Honore de Balzac

“Come now.”
Drive through a blinding sunset.
She rallied to take another morning bow.
New day. “Few hours left.” Last call.
We hear a death knell; see writing on the wall.
All here.
We cram round and on her bed.
When we can’t stroke her arm, her hand, or her head,
We stroke each other or hold ourselves instead.
“Soon now.”
Our grief swells into the dark clouds overhead.
“She’s gone.”
She silently left the fair.
The sun smashed through the clouds, bright and unaware.

Christine Ingall
August 2015 version revised 24 March 2019