The First Mother’s Day: Watching Over Me

We all have those times were we just need to get away, step outside of our little worlds, take a break and see things from a different perspective.  That was this weekend for me.  The grief counselors told me that Mother’s Day would be a trigger. It would be an emotional day, so plan for it and do something meaningful.  And indeed it was.  Oddly enough, I loved seeing the all the posts and pictures of everyone with their Mother’s.  It made me grateful that I had mine for 43 years. It was reassuring and made me feel good that the world had not stopped just because my mother was gone. But I still did miss her deeply.

The plan was to go to the beach, relax, have a good time, eat, drink and be as merry as possible, while remembering and honoring my mother.  As it turned out, she had a gift for me too. As I sat in a restaurant Friday night, I saw an older lady facing me in the next booth over.  We caught each other’s eyes and connected, looking at each other smiling for several seconds, maybe 15-20 or more.  This happened several times during dinner.  We could not stop or keep our eyes off each other when this happened.  And I thought her eyes and smile look just like my mother’s.

When she and her family got up to leave, I had to go over and just tell her that she reminded me so much of my mother who had passed away last year, and that is why I kept looking at her and smiling. That my mother was my best friend. I said thank you so much and wished her a happy Mother’s Day. She just smiled and took my hands.  Her family said she was 92 and she shook her head yes.  And smiled at me again. Then she looked at me and said she loved me and gave me the most wonderful hug.  And for a moment, I had my mother back, I had my last hug and I love you with her.  For a moment, my mother was there with me.  And it was wonderful.

That lady and her family will never know how wonderful that moment was, how much it meant, or what a gift it was to me. But my Mother knows.  I think that was her gift to me. Yes, she is still looking after me. But then she always did.  I remember in 2013, after my last court date concerning the attack.  I had to face the man who attacked me in court.  And at the end of the day I was emotionally distraught and exhausted.  When I get like that, my body temperature drops and I cannot get warm.  That night, she turned the heat up as high as it would go, wrapped me up in blankets and stayed up all night watching over me in the hotel room to make sure that I slept and did not have nightmares.  She didn’t sleep at all, just watching over me, like only a mother could.

On Mother’s Day, I sat on the beach in the sun for a long time.  It was a bit crowded with families and young people enjoying the mild weather and sunshine. And when it was time, I took the envelope with the cards and letter to my amazing mother, walked to the water and started swimming out to were the water was deeper.  And as I swam, the water was cool and washed over me, caressing my heart as I made my way out deeper with the envelope.  It started to come apart as I swam, my mother anxious to read what was written inside.  And when a big wave came towards me, I let it go, for the waves to carry to her so she could open and read it.  I watched the envelope as it disappeared into the water. And I whispered that I loved her now and always.

It was a beautiful moment, soft and gentle, in the ocean, with people swimming and splashing around.  A private moment between mother and daughter, only seen by God. It was perfect. And as I eventually swam back to the shore, I heard her whisper to me in the wind, a message only for me.

Today is her birthday, she would have been 76.  I miss her so much, but I also feel her love around me, watching over me now just like she did in that hotel room four years before.

My Mother

She is and has been one of my best friends for years, and yet she still know how to be my mother.  She has been an absolutely amazing mother, standing by me through everything, thick and thin, even when she did not agree with my decisions. She has dried countless tears, mended a thousand scrapes, bruises and cuts, has always been there with a hug or wise word and more love than I could even fathom.I share everything with her (well, almost everything) and we are extremely close. We stay up late and talk, drink wine, cry, tell secrets and stories. And she has taught me so much.

Dad was often away working much of my childhood, so mom raised us by herself for the most part. and yet, we always knew that he loved us and she always made sure that even when he was absent, we never felt like her was far away. I remember her brushing my long hair as a child and putting it up in french braids or pony tails, or curling it making pretty waves cascade down my back and shoulders.  I remember her reading to us, every day and every night, instilling is us at a every early age, the beauty, magic and mystique of reading. She was the first person to encourage me to write. She taught us proper table manners, how to set a proper table, all the social graces we would need to carry ourselves with class and ease, the importance of a good vocabulary, sentence structure and speaking proper English.

She taught us about being honest, studying hard, faith, Jesus, the Bible and God. She answered the strange questions that only children could ask, with Grace, wit and patience. She taught us how to make our beds, do the dishes, clean our rooms, even how to mow the lawn. She taught us about things like empathy, compassion, being of service to others, and why she deserved, beyond a shadow of a doubt, our utmost respect. She said things like: I love you enough to make you hate me – Because I love you and you are my child, I will always do what is best for you. And when I tell you you cannot do something, then it is because I love you.And when I tell you No, and you get mad, it is OK to hate me a little. Because i love you enough to make you hate me.

I remember getting up one night as a child, upset. And she made me hot chocolate, held me while i cried and told me that it was OK if I did not know the reason, that sometimes it is Ok to just be sad.

Yes, she has been a wonderful mother, not only to me, but to my friends and many other children as well.  She has always been the neighborhood mother and our house was (and still is) where al the neighbors and their children would go. I remember all my friends wanting to come over to our house, because of the home my mother had created. Children have always loved and trusted her, but hen she has a gift for being able to walk in their shoes and see from their viewpoint. Because of this amazing gift she has with children, we were the only therapeutic foster home in the state of Florida. She helped 65 kids in 3 years 0 65 of the worst, most abused, most troubled children, and she was able to reach and help them all. And she taught me how to understand children as well.

There are so many wonderful memories about my mother, so many things that she has taught me about life, love, honesty, Faith, friends, people, children, cooking, cleaning, relationships, money…and the list jsut goes on. All I can say really is that I have been so very blessed to have her as my mother. And if I could have chosen who I would be my Mom, I would have chosen her. God could not have done better.

I love you Mom. Thank you for all that you do, all that you taught and continue to teach me, and for just being you! I hope to be as good a mother to my children as you have been to me.