I’m not quite sure why this year, I miss my mom so much more than ever.
I woke up before everyone else did today. I played beauty shop all by myself-girl time- if you will. Soaked in some left over bath salts my daughter had given me last year for mother’s day. Read a little. Laid back and let the warm water wash over me.
And then I felt them:one tear first, then the rest just followed.
Mom told me a long time before she passed that sometimes she did that when she thought of my dad. She said when she composed herself, that she felt better, not so sad and somehow, it made her feel closer to him. It was her moment with her memories, it was their moment. I think today was my first time doing this. I’m not so sure how good it will all feel but I do know that going down the lane of memories I had long forgotten felt good.
I still couldn’t shake off why this year felt so much harder than all the years before. I even started to think about Tuesday, and the fact that it would be the 8th year my mom would not call me for my birthday to retrace all that happened that day between she and I. I thought about last year’s Mother’s Day; was it a not so good one? Did I forget to remember her and now it was coming back double this time? No. That doesn’t happen. I think of my mom all the time;not just on her birthday, or Mother’s Day, or Christmas. I think about her when I hear someone speak with an accent and think about how much better my mom would say it in her accent, then I act it out just because that always made her laugh. I think about my mom, when I drop off bags of clothes to a community that needs them because that’s what she always did; she was always helping others. I think about my mom each time I sit down to pray before I do a tour or give a talk about my September 11th experiences because she was the one that encouraged me to never stop volunteering as it was so good for the soul and because helping others first is always important. So no, it wasn’t that. I couldn’t put my finger on it and it was driving me nuts.
I finished my morning of beauty, came out and found my bedroom had been transformed. Candles lit, bed made, gifts on the bed with my bacon sandwich waiting for me. Everything was just perfect. Of course, my daughter is just like me and wanted to know if I wanted my birthday presents now or wait until Tuesday. She gets anxious. She loves to make others smile and here she was. She somehow could sense what I was feeling.
Was she missing her Nana as much today as I was?
I knew what it was.
So many great things have happened in our lives since Mami went home to be with God and my dad and brother. The most recent, our daughter graduating with her third degree in education. This is what my mom pushed all of her children to do; to be the best that they could be, because that’s not what she had. And since last week, as proud and as happy as I felt about my daughter’s amazing accomplishment, I wish my mom had been here to experience it and I know my daughter felt the same way too.
I remembered then that I felt the same way when I went to Japan with the 9/11 Tribute Center two years ago. Japan. WOW! My mother would have loved to know that her daughter was going on a mission of healing across the world. I remembered thinking back then, if this trip was meant for me, it would happen. I think now that every time I embark on doing something like this, I think the same but always with the thought that if God wants it, it’ll happen because mom had a talk with him. She could be very persuasive. I started thinking about all the things I’ve done since she’s passed and a great comfort enveloped me.
My mom does know. That was the warm feeling I had. That was her way of embracing me and saying she does know and she is proud. And maybe my tears today was her way of saying, “Let them go, I’m here. I’m always here.”
She used to tell me, if you want something bad enough, put it out there. If you can think it, you dream it, you believe it, it can happen. I know she was saying, “Get off your butt and make it happen. Don’t get discouraged.” And it did work.
So today, with all the news things I’m embarking on with an amazing group of friends I have made in the 9/11 community, I’m going to take this morning as a sign and that is to push forward and don’t let walls stand in my way, don’t let no’s stand in my way, keep going until Icarissa’s speech for nana get a yes. Otherwise, I’ll be thinking about the other side of my mom; the hairy eyeball that stares at me saying, “Really? You could’ve gone one step further.”
Mom never let any of us quit. She always had a positive attitude even in her very last weeks of life. She was a spit fire. She was tough. And when the doctors told her she didn’t have long to live her response was, “Oh juuu God now? He theeee only on who can tell me eeets time.” It frustrated her doctors to no end but it gave us all hope…and without hope, you cannot cope. And when Mom took her last breathe, she did it on her terms. With all her daughters present. Each of us got to do our little “thing” with mom, on her bed, in her ear. And when she was done, she went home.
She did it her way.
I miss you so much Mami. But I thank you for this morning’s visit and for your embraces. I Love you… Happy Mother’s Day.
I’ll see you when I get there.