Mother’s Day and “Losing Progress”

 I had known my first Mother’s Day without my mother would be undeniably hard. I thought I was prepared for it. I had been dreading the day since I had first begun seeing ads for “Best Gift Ideas for Moms” pop up in my inbox or on social media, and I thought that dread meant that it could not get much worse.

I did not, could not, have foreseen that Mother’s Day weekend would also bring with it: the three month anniversary of my mother’s murder, a dog fight between my sister’s dog and one of my parents’ dogs that my sister was now caring for, a trip to the ER to treat dog bites on both my brother and brother-in-law for dog bites from said dog bites, another dog eating all of our steak that we had cooked for the dinner we planned in honor of my mother, a night of drinking, a terrible hangover and all the regret that brings, and a new wave of longing for my mother and hatred towards myself.

I wanted nothing more than to be able to go back in time, to be able to erase the previous three months and bring my mother back. I wished more than anything that I could go back and shake my past self for taking the precious moments I had left with her for granted.

 And what made the weekend and these feelings all the more frustrating was that just days before, I had said to multiple people, “This is the best week I have had since this all happened.” It felt as if I was finally making progress, as if I was finally coming to the light at the end of some tunnel after slogging through the messiness of grief for the past three months. I felt good for the first time in a long time. I felt happy. I laughed and smiled more, and sure, it had only been a week, but it had been something, right?  Why did Mother’s Day have to send it all crashing so far back down?  

The answer, of course, is one, that I had been through a very traumatic event. Three months, no matter how effective my counseling and medication were, was not going to suddenly cure me of all my issues relating to my parents’ deaths. And two, we are all human. We cannot expect to be happy all the time. We cannot expect highs without lows.

Despite the crying, too many margaritas, and an otherwise disastrous night before Mother’s Day we planned as a tribute to our mother, we still released paper lanterns, each with a handwritten note to Mama.

Ultimately, I am grateful for the train wreck that was our Mother’s Day weekend. Despite the ER trips and disastrous dinner, my siblings and I still released paper lanterns with handwritten notes to our mama on all three. We watched as the lanterns floated into the sky, and listened to Tyler Childer’s “Follow You to Virgie” with tears in our eyes.

And after the weekend was over and I had time to reflect on how down in the dumps I had felt over the whole thing, it gave me my epiphany on appreciating the small things and how happiness and joy is a constant and often difficult choice we have to make, but a necessary one. Although the journey so far has been short, it has been eye opening. And just as we could see the flames of the paper lanterns lighting the sky that night, I can see the path before me lit clearly in a way it has not been since my mother died, and I think this blog is a big part of that.

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