Grief sure is a sneaky thing. Some days, you are just cruising right along and you think to yourself, you know, I think I am doing good. Perhaps better then good. And then, out of the blue, you walk into a store, say a See's Candy store, to buy your granddaughter and your son a treat and almost immediately you feel a panic attack start to rear its ugly head. You feel a lump in your throat and you find yourself doing everything in your power to keep from dissolving into tears. In the middle of the store. In front of complete strangers. You stand there, ever so briefly, as you realize that for the first time in 20 plus years you will not be buying your mother her favorite chocolate to go along with her Mother's Day present. There will be no Mother's Day present. There will be no Mother's Day with your mom. You realize that last year, you were gifted with the very last Mother's Day together. Ever.
And this Sunday, I will not only be a child without a mother in this life but I will also be the mother of a child who has lost her very own child. You cannot imagine the depths of my sadness for my Caitlin. You cannot imagine what it did to my heart recently, as I saw a picture of her holding her brand new, beautiful nephew. Her face exuded pure joy and her eyes were actually smiling, and she was more then okay holding this new life and me, I ached for her to be holding her Gracie. She should be holding her Gracie. But she is not. And as much as that feels cruel and pains me to see a photo like that, Caitlin will tell you that holding her nephew was not difficult. It was wonderful. For he does not belong to her. He is not her Gracie. And she knows the difference. She feels the difference. And me, am I ever proud to be the mother of this remarkable girl. She is incredible and truly walks this road with "Grace" and beauty.
So Sunday will come. And it go. We will again hit another first. We will surround ourselves in the safety and comfort of each other. I will spend the day feeling gratitude for the 48 years I had with my mom. I will realize how blessed we were that she was able to greet and watch grow, 17 grandchildren. That is so, so much more then many others will ever have. I will miss her terribly. I really will. I will miss Gracie for Caitlin with every fiber of my being. But I refuse to lose myself in the sadness and in the grief. I will choose faith and hope. Because those two things, were the embodiment of my mom. She wore a t-shirt on the last day of her life, not by chance but by choice, because that was who she was. The shirt simply said: "Hope"
And I will read and re-read her Facebook post from Mother's Day last year and the day before that. For her words on that page, the last few months of her life, were gifts to us all.
An early good morning to all you dear, sweet ,loving children and grandchildren and adorable husband (of course he won't read this but I will tell him). How special and loved you all make me feel -each and everyone -
Stephen, Leslie, Heather, Shannon and Luke - I am proud to be your Mother - I look back and say wow! - we did that - I love you all so much - The Queen Mum - and proud that my (though maybe not perfect) blood flows in your veins - Thank you - Happy Mother's Day from me
Love and miss you mom. We are taking good care of him. Promise.