I’ve been very apprehensive about this day honestly.
My older brother sent a note to me yesterday with a similar recognition of unease as he realized that this is our first Mother’s Day without our mom being around.
The first since her passing last July.
I’m feeling deeply pensive about this, realizing that we discover over time that there are a never ending series of first experiences that stretch along the continuums of our lives.
That a visceral malaise comes with this as we realize that many of these firsts are as well our lasts, bringing equally as much sadness as joy as time goes on.
Today in that context is a profound first for me.
My mom’s passing was a closing of a doorway to an active connection to my childhood and a holding on to that special group of characters, that each of us has that define family and the norms of our lives.
And invariably when fortunate as I consider myself to be, the keys to values and beliefs that have shaped who I am.
We all come to grips that in the hurt of these losses there lies a balance of who we are in the face of these inevitable changes.
As I watched my mom age with considerable grace and experienced her death suddenly with such dignity, I can’t help holding on the loss of it. To the the hurt of it.
It reminds me of the powerful distinction that Buddhism makes between the states of remorse and regret, and that in the nuance of understanding this you either find stasis and unhappiness or comfort and forward momentum.
I’m realizing that there is a similar dichotomy between sorrow and sadness that is relevant to my feelings today.
I am truly sad when I think of my mother. Painfully so, not for her but for me. But in this sadness, there is no real sorrow.
Just as in the best of times, I don’t regret the passage of time along this continuum of my own timespan.
My mom was a really terrific lady.
It was my great pleasure as we both aged to see the switch of my role as the child to her as one in many ways.
To her as the needy one. To her the center of attention. And to her whose presence required attention, even in the most insignificant thing.
My mom, and all of ours I’m sure are exceptional because they are ours. Yes, some are more accomplished in the eye of the world. Or successful. That matters really not at all.
In our own lives, looking back, we see ourselves young and raw. Needy and taken care of. Foolish and protective. Loved in spite of all the shit we did. It’s a messy warmth that bears no equal in life.
I’ve already written in my memorial post how much she meant to me.
Today I simply share this with my family and community who may have similar thoughts of sadness today or something they can file away.
Life is better for the things we remember that helped us become who we are.
My mother. All of ours, are as formative in making this so as anything can be.
This is an opportune time to celebrate their unique importance to those who are with us still. To say thanks to those that are not. To find a place for sadness that is a type of joy in its own special way.
I’m going to head up to the MoMa today to visit the Jackson Pollack painting that my mom and I so loved together.
We made a trip to the museum a few times every year over the past decades.
She would get dressed up with the special clothing and jewelry that I bought for her as presents. We would have lunch at the café overlooking the sculpture garden and then we would sit in front of this magnificent painting.
For some unexplained reason, abstract expressionism touched us both. And this painting more than any other.
There was approachability in its shapelessness. There were so many nooks and crannies for both of us to find our own meaning there. To experience the strength and power and inspiration of it.
I’m leaning hard today on intellectualisms about the inevitability of life and change.
It’s truthful but I need a heavy dose of something we touched together, that is palpable and special to the both of us.
I’m off to find it.
Happy Mothers Day to all mom’s everywhere!