We all know how to buy Mom a gift and a card to celebrate Mother’s Day. But what do we do when we lose our mom, and face Mother’s Day without the one who gave us life? My Mom passed away six years ago and every Mother’s Day week since I spend time searching for the gifts of her life—the values that made me who I am today. I discovered that the values of my Mom can be found in three places:
1. My mother’s words. I thought back to her voice, the words I heard more than once or twice: “Always look on the bright side,” the gift of optimism. She used to say, “Count your blessings,” teaching me the value of gratitude. And she constantly said, “Always do your best,” teaching me the value of quality. I found quiet places today and listened to my mom's voice and tried to find the value represented by her words.
2. My mother’s actions. I remember all the things she did to provide care for me. She found other uses for items before throwing them out (like plastic eating utensils), teaching me resourcefulness and creativity. She always made me my favorite comfort food (french toast filled with peanut butter), teaching me the value of caring for others. And she let go of what I did as a college student (years of rebellion :)), hugging me through it all, teaching me forgiveness. Today I remembered all of the things she did with her hands to make life really nice for me.
3. My mother’s unique possessions—like her doll collection. The third place for finding the gifts from my mom required looking at things that embarrassed me as a kid, but I looked at them a bit differently today, and now view them as gifts. My mom collected dolls, even had a room just for her dolls. She was trying to make her life a little brighter, more cheerful. Yuck - dolls! Whew! And my mom loved telling and writing stories. In high school, she taught me how to write, and my English teacher told me not to follow her grammar rules. I remember being so embarrassed, and not letting her read my work anymore. I followed suit though, and tried to teach my daughter 4th grade math, and her math teacher called me to meet with her one afternoon and told me not to teach Jennifer math anymore. HA! I learned that from my mom! Jennifer was quite embarrassed! By the way, my daughter is a much better writer than I am, and is so much better at math, which isn't that difficult.
While I can't buy a Mother’s Day gift or card this year, I can still give mom the thanks she deserves by claiming the gifts of her life—and live those strong values that will help me to survive Mother’s Day without my Mom.
I send these words, with love, to all who have lost someone special…