Ever since 2004, Mothers Day has been difficult for me. I’ve written before about how my mom passed away on April 18, 2004, less than year after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I was a senior in high school and about to graduate and begin summer session at Penn State. While she was sick and after she passed away I became a different person. It forced me to grow up quickly. I was forever changed and so were my priorities. I knew what it felt like to lose someone I loved and who loved me so much. You aren’t supposed to have to say goodbye to your mother at the age of 17, but that is what happened.
Since that day I have thought about her every day. I missed her at my high school graduation. I missed her when I went off to college and when I graduated from college. I missed her when I accepted a teaching job in Virginia and moved away from all my friends and family. I missed her when I had good and bad days at school and wanted to call her to tell her about them. I missed her when I met Kevin and fell in love and realized he would never get to know her. I missed her when we got engaged and while I was planning my wedding. I missed her so much on my wedding day, and even more when I found out I was pregnant. I miss her every day. I can’t explain how many times I have wished I could pick up the phone and talk to her or hug her again.
That’s why Mothers Day is always an especially hard day for me. However, this year Mothers Day is a little different. It feels very bittersweet. That’s because this year I am the one that is (going to be) a mother.
My mom and me, both of us 5 months pregnant.
It never really crossed my mind that this is my first sort-of Mothers Day. I know that I am not technically a mother since my baby isn’t born yet, but Kevin made a very good point the other day. He said that even though baby isn’t born, I am still working very hard to take care of him or her. I am the only one that the baby relies on right now. I am the one that is keeping it safe and healthy as it grows and develops inside of me. So I am a mother already.
As I go through pregnancy, there are so many things I wish I could ask my mom and talk to her about. I was my mom’s first baby. My birthday is October 1st, and my baby is due September 26th, so our pregnancy timelines are almost the same. I think about her with every new milestone.
I want to know how she felt when she found out she was pregnant and if she was constantly nauseous the first 10 weeks like I was. I want to know when she first felt me move inside her. I want to know what her labor and delivery was like. I want to know if she got stretch marks. I want to ask her about all the weird things that are happening to me that you can only talk to your mother about. I want to ask her for advice about how to take care of a newborn and what to expect. I want to hear the funny and sweet stories that she remembers about when I was born and as I grew up.
I constantly have dreams that she is still here and playing with the baby once he or she is born. I dream that she is there to watch the baby grow up. These dreams are so real and they make me incredibly sad when I wake up and realize that I was dreaming. Even though she was sick and in pain, I selfishly wish she was still here every single day. It’s been 8 years and I still feel angry when I think about how she was taken from us. I still don’t understand why this had to happen to her when she was only 45 years old, with daughters that were only 17 and 13 years old and a husband that would do anything for all of us. It has left me with a lot of anxiety and fear that I will lose other people that I love, which I still struggle with today.
I am very lucky to have such a supportive family and I recently married into another amazing family. They have always been there for me with anything I need, but it is impossible to fill the void that was left when my mom died. Nobody can replace that.
She was a great mother, and I know she would have been an amazing grandmother too. I am sad that she never got the chance to be one, but I know I can keep her spirit alive by trying to be the kind of mother she was for my sister and me.
This Mothers Day is bittersweet because while I am so excited to be a mother and have my baby, I feel so sad when I think about my own mom and how her life was cut short. Now she is my inspiration to live a full life, make the most of the time I have with the people I love, and try to be the best mother to my baby that I can be. I will never forget those lessons.
Happy Mothers Day Mom. I love you.