11 May 2014
I had planned to hide today. To bury myself under metaphorical covers and avoid the flood of Mother’s Day messages on Facebook and all over the stores. To lose myself in books and movies and pretend this emotional day doesn’t exist.
I’ve struggled with Mother’s Day for years. Some years I’ve felt angry and bitter, grieving deeply for my daughters and angry that no one seemed to notice. Other years I’ve done as I planned to do this year, to avoid it, isolate myself and pretend it didn’t exist. Yet other years I focused on my love for my mother and grandmother and for my girls and worked to ignore the pain and loss I felt.
For the last 11 years, Mother’s Day has mostly been about trying to avoid feeling too much. It’s been a fight with myself between being visible and being invisible, arguing with myself about all the conflicting feelings of anger and grief and love and sadness and fear.
I talk a lot about how mothers with no children here in physical form can seem invisible – not seen by the world at large as the mothers that they are because they have no obvious physical, visible proof of their children. Professionally, I work to give these “invisible mothers” a voice, recognition, and acknowledgement. Personally, I fight to figure out how I want to acknowledge and recognize and speak for myself.
I had planned to hide this year. To avoid the dizzying array of conflicting feelings and just wait for the day to pass.
But hiding only serves to perpetuate invisibility. Hiding does not take away the pain or grief or sadness of this day. Avoiding the emotions of today will only serve to amplify those emotions – believe me, I’ve had plenty of experience with this! Hiding from this day doesn’t serve me or anyone.
Not everyone will understand the pain that I and others feel on this day. I may never understand the joy that mothers with physically here children may feel on this day. Everyone has their own experience of this day and likely people will always disagree on how it “should” be handled.
I get that. And it’s ok.
Instead of hiding, I will live this day. I will feel whatever I feel and let that be ok. I’ll go to my spiritual center and acknowledge the pain when the mothers are recognized. I’ll take myself out to a movie and celebrate for myself that way. I’ll call my mother and feel happy that she’s my mother and she’s still here. I’ll think of my girls and be grateful that they chose me as their mother. I’ll cry because they are gone.
I’ll live this day with all it’s messy and conflicting emotions because life is messy. Grief is messy. Motherhood is messy. Love is messy.
If I can’t avoid the mess, I might as well jump in and embrace it.