Mother’s Day brings both loss, appreciation to fore

Sweet smelling blossoms, culinary delights, carefully selected gifts and beautifully illustrated cards of poetic eloquence have always symbolized Mother’s Day.

There is also the custom of wearing a red corsage if one’s mother is alive and a white one if she is deceased.

Having lost my mother in February to Alzheimer’s disease, I prefer to pass on the white corsage. With this being my first Mother’s Day without my mom, I feel a deep sense of loss and emptiness, and a helpless longing for the good days of years gone by.

Mother and I shared a ritual of activities every year for the big day. We both shopped for just the right card for the other, analyzing every word to make sure it expressed our deepest and sincerest thoughts. We both displayed for weeks all of the cards we received in a special place where visitors would be sure to see and admire them.

We discussed Mother’s Day dinner whether we were eating at home or having dinner at a restaurant. Church was always a major part of the entire week.

Mother thoroughly enjoyed opening her gifts, often saving the bows and the wrappings. We called relatives who lived out of town to wish them a happy Mother’s Day.

Life is full of adjustments. I am not sure when or how I will adapt to this yearly celebration with Mother now residing in heaven. When Daddy died, Mother and I became a team. We joined forces to find ways to still enjoy our lives without Daddy. We were more like sisters. When Alzheimer’s disease began to rob Mother of her daily routines and memories, we became more like mother and child, with me being the mother this time.

Even though my mom is no longer with us, I know that I will always have my wonderful memories to connect me with her through a bond that is eternal and will continually bring me back to the smell of a beautiful bouquet, the sight of neat rows of canned jams, the boxes of cards I saved over the years, and the unique gifts Mother bought or crafted on her old sewing machine just for me.

I suppose the greatest Mother’s Day gift I received is the gift of a lifetime with Mother. I now realize, with great pleasure, that Mother was in a class of her own and a maternal realm seldom reached by others. She left an indelible impression on all who knew her, and especially on me.

She did not endeavor to become great. She just was.

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