It hits me late in the day.
I didn’t get her any flowers. Everyone else’s mother will have had flowers but I didn’t get any. I never do.
Sometimes I feel guilty. I think about her stone, the one carved with both my mom’s and my dad’s names, barren of decoration while all over the cemetery other stones bloom with the gifts of more thoughtful children.
A friend suggested that perhaps at this point my mom didn’t care about such things. I hope she’s right.
It’s not that I didn’t love my folks. I did. It’s not that I don’t miss them. I do. Not being a mother and not having a mother makes Mothers Day a kind of weird non-event for me.
It’s just that although their bodies are buried in that cemetery, there is nothing of them there for me. That’s not where I feel their spirits.
If I want to honor my mother and feel close to her, I work in my yard. She loved nothing better than digging in the dirt. Or I clean carpet, She also liked a clean house. If I want to remember and honor my dad, I stand in front of his easel and paint, sometimes unconsciously pursuing my lips or resting my chin in my head like he used to do.
For some people, going to a cemetery is a powerful experience of connection. If that’s you, by all means be there. For others of us it feels about as removed from our loved ones as we can be. If that’s you, find your own way to remember.
That’s the thing about grief. Despite what we sometimes think, there’s no one right way to do it.