Mother’s Day without my mother

I had a wonderful Mother’s Day. I spent it with my husband and my boys and many members of my Mother’s family. As has been the case for so many family gatherings of this type, my aunt and uncle open their home to us, as they live in a fairly central location for many of us to travel to. Regardless of the many personalities and conflicts that may have happened in the past, as I’m sure is the case in most families, everyone is always welcome at their home. My kids love my aunt and uncle, I feel completely relaxed when I’m there, and my husband enjoys a laid back time of visiting and conversation. I got to spend time with my grandmother (we call her Nana), several of my aunts and uncles, and a few cousins. I laughed, I ate a little, enjoyed a smooth glass of wine, and tried to appreciate as many of the moments that I could. Although several of my family members were there, many were not. For whatever reason, it’s sometimes challenging to get a large family together when everyone lives several hours away, in different states, or they simply have other plans for the day. The one person, though, who has been consistently missing from these family gatherings is my mother. As a matter of fact, I can’t clearly remember the last time I saw her in a family setting for a holiday, birthday, or Mother’s Day. It wasn’t because she lives in another state or across the country because the last I knew she lived less than a two hour drive from my aunt and uncle’s house. I say the last I knew because, sadly, I don’t even know what her address is anymore. For so long I was sad, hurt, mad or any one of those feelings and sometimes all of them at the same time. I can’t fathom it. I don’t get it. I’m a Mother and a Mom and I can’t imagine not being a part of my kids’ lives. I can’t imagine not spending every holiday or special occasion with them. Somehow though, she has shut off. No phone calls, no birthday cards, not even an email. It’s like we don’t exist to her anymore and quite honestly, it’s beginning to feel like she doesn’t even exist to us anymore, either. I find myself hesitating to call her Mom because to me that word is special, it’s meant for that woman who you love first in your life and who is supposed to love you more than anything and show up for the wonderful moments in your life and hug you and hold you through the most painful ones.

On Mother’s Day yesterday I found myself noticing her missing just as I noticed all the others who were missing, no more or less of an impact on how I felt, just the same, painfully maybe even less. I didn’t peer out the window hoping her car would pull in the driveway, as I’ve done in the past when she promised to come, but failed to show up, because I knew she wasn’t coming. I no longer hope for a birthday card for me or for my kids. I don’t expect a phone call to ask how we are all doing. I’m gradually feeling like she’s gone to us, not because death has taken her from us, but because she simply isn’t available to us. What scares me to the core is that I’m giving up on this changing. I’m giving up on the hope that she will call or email or send a card. What frightens me even more than that is that I’m starting not to care.


  1. Hi Cathy-How brave of you to write this post. It is so hard to accept people for who they are-especially when they’re not who we want them to be. And your mother-that’s the hardest one of all to accept. It’s something you probably won’t ever get. It think there’s always a sadness for your children-since they’re the ones who won’t know her at all. I’m glad you were surrounded by your husband and kids and it sounds like lots of other family members. Happy Mother’s Day.
    Lori Popkewitz Alper recently posted..Natural Allergy Relief and PreventionMy Profile

    • Thank you so much Lori. Sometimes it’s so hard to put yourself out there like this, but I’ve been thinking about it for a while and Mother’s Day just gave me the push and courage to write it. Overall, I have some really wonderful people in my life and for them, I’m truly grateful. 🙂

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