Today is Mother’s day.
For some; it can be a challenging day. Not all mothers were created equals.
Some did not have a positive mother/ or a mother figure in their lives.
Some had a toxic/abusive mother.
Some had a negligent mother.
Some grieve the mother they needed; instead of the one they had.
Some lost their mothers; literally or figuratively.
While most people will shrug it off or call it a commercial holiday; deep down it can stir some very difficult emotions.
I already addressed the challenges of family gatherings and self-care here; Mother’s day can be especially emotional as we all have a mother; whether we have contacts with her or not. No matter how hard we try to ignore or deny our feelings and these voices inside. She is still a part of us.
For me; Mother’s day always came second to my grandmother’s birthday; a collateral. To this day; even though my grandmother passed a long time ago; Mother’s day still carries this meaning first.
I don’t feel I need a day to tell my mom I love her or I am grateful for her. Maybe because we are close and talk often. Maybe because I do it every time we see each other in my own way. Maybe because I feel my actions speak louder than words or gifts.
She may disagree with me. She may feel we don’t see each other enough. She may feel she would have liked me to spend the day with her this year. It’s okay. Her feelings are as legitimate as mine and they may be different.
I realized this week that it is easier to forgive the dead than the living for their faults. Dying erases the slate after a while. Your mind chooses to remember the good moments; the positive feelings. Maybe it is why it was much easier to forgive my grandmother.
I also realized that the way forward for me is forgiveness. I have worked hard for the past years in therapy and this led my to this place today. Mother’s day is a day of celebration; of mothers; the strength of women; the summer to come; the rebirth of nature.
It is often a hopeful time after a cold and long winter. Some people dealing with mental illnesses may feel a sense of renewed hope; optimism toward the future; the good weather to come.
This first half of the year has been incredibly challenging but I do feel this sense of hope I feel every May; as the flowers bloom; the trees burgeon; that fresh May sun.
Tomorrow I will not spend the day with my mother because it is not possible this year. But she will be in my thoughts; in my heart; as she always is. I will call her to tell her I love her; because I can. This year; I will also forgive her. For all the times she was not what the mother I wanted; for the times she was not the mother I needed. For the times I was upset at her. Because I need to love her for who she is; a mother who tries her best. A beautiful human that successfully raised another.
I need to forgive myself for the times I was not a good daughter. That I wasn’t a good enough daughter. For the times I was not the daughter she needed, she wanted. For the times I judged her. For the times I didn’t love myself enough. For the time I let my mental illnesses build a wall around me. Shutting out guilt is hard; but forgiving is harder.
I need to forgive because one day I might be a mother. One who will try her best; with all her flaws and limitations. And I hope my children will forgive me as well. I hope they will love their grandmother as much as I loved mine. My second mother.
Tomorrow will be bittersweet for me and there lies the beauty of life. In its complexity; in the light shining through the darkness. In the moments; in the people that shaped who we are; who we will become.
So whether you are celebrating mother’s day or not tomorrow; think about forgiveness. It can be a long journey. Forgiving is not about forgetting, but it’s freeing ourselves from the chains of the past.
If the day is especially difficult for you; spend the day with loved ones. Treat yourself to something nice. Distract yourself. Enjoy the beautiful day. Do what feed your soul.
Have a wonderful day. Thank the mother figures in your life if you can. They are doing their best. Being a human being is hard enough; raising others is hell of a job.
But above all; take care of yourself.