Wednesday 09 May
Mothers day is a day where I experience duality in its deepest form. I want to honor my mothers day story and share it with you in hopes that it will bring a sense of sacredness to this day. It is a day where we celebrate precious time spent and memories made with our mothers and celebrate the moments being loved by our own little offspring.
We are now into the month of May and the sun is shining, flowers blooming, birds are chirping and there is an entire day designated to honoring all Mothers! Myself included. With Mother’s Day fast approaching I have a slew of emotions coming up to the surface and trying to write about anything other than my Mom is next to impossible. I wanted to share with you a bit of my story on the moment in this lifetime when I became a Mom. Motherhood came to me exactly at the same time while I was losing my own Mom, and I want to share a little bit more about the life lessons I learned throughout the process.
If you have lost someone close to you, you know that the days leading up to all holidays, special occasion, and “the day of” are extremely hard. Since the passing of my Mom, Mothers day has been bittersweet for me. It’s the one day of the year where the loss of her is magnified, and yet at the same time, I am so thankful for the healthy children I have been blessed with.
Nearly five years ago now I was pregnant with my first child, and the first Grandchild on both sides of our family. We were all beyond thrilled about our growing family. At the time we found out I was pregnant my Mom was having back issues, and about a week before my due date she ended up in the emergency as she was nearly in tears from the pain. After many tests and scans, it had come back that my Mother had Cancer in her bones. The news shifted our worlds and being scared could not even describe what we all felt. How could this all be happening at one time? At this point, we didn’t know the main source so more test had to be done. A couple weeks later our precious baby boy came into the world. Jones Thomas Young. Our lives were forever changed. Our entire family was at the hospital, it truly was a celebration of life and my mom was there for it all.
Days later my mom had her appointment with the oncologist to get her results and make plans for treatment, or so we thought. I will never forget the moment I was at my parent’s house holding my newborn nauseous with worry, anxiously waiting for them to come back from the appointment. Once the car pulled up I saw my mom crying and I just knew the news was bad. That was the beginning of the end.
My mother was diagnosed with Mesothelioma, an extremely rare cancer associated with exposure to asbestos. They had given my mom 6-12 months to live. No option for chemotherapy as it was too aggressive and only radiation to ease the pain. There are no words to describe the heartache we all felt. I had instantly become my mothers at home nurse all while trying to figure out this very new mothering thing keeping a newborn child loved, fed, happy and alive.
Over the next few months, we had some pretty dark days but many good days too. Jones, my son was her everything. She was so proud of him and told me that every day. She would tell me “don’t you cry tears on our baby, you have to be strong now”. My mother was a right. I had no choice but to get up in the morning and keep moving. My son needed me. At one point she said to me “I would take this cancer any day knowing you and him are safe”, and at the time I disliked her comment, but knowing now the love I have for my children, a mother will do ANYTHING for the health and happiness of their child. Her words will forever stick to my heart and I could not be more grateful to have gotten to listen to them in those special moments.
At the time my husband and I had no plans for a wedding but decided to move fast so my Mom could be there. Six weeks later we were married amongst our closest friends and family. By the time of my wedding my mom was already in a wheelchair, and very weak, but she was there and that is all that mattered. We spent seven weeks in Palliative care, Jones was well known by all the nurses and other patients. The day came fast and my mom peacefully left us early December on her 60th birthday. Only six months after the final diagnoses. Every challenging experience you go through can either paralyze you or propel you forward. Thanks to my son I moved forward. He pulled me into the light and was a constant reminder to be joyful, while I was heartbroken and grieving. Being his mother eased the pain of missing my own. The duality of this experience still gives me goosebumps to my core. The celebration of life and death and grief and love and experiencing the opposite ends of life’s spectrum all at once will forever be part of me.
Fast forward to 4.5 years to the present. I am now a stay at home Mom, to Jones, 4 Ivy 2, and Royce 14 months. Now I know there is no right or wrong way to Mother, or a book that can tell you all the “how to’s” but let’s be honest a bit of a roadmap would be nice, (right???), there is no roadmap, there are no how to’s all I have is learning by doing. Missing my Mom is magnified usually through moments when I seek reassurance, that what I am doing is right or at least something my Mom would approve of. Anyone knows that Moms know best. This is honestly when I miss my mom the most. I want to call and ask her SO many parenting how- to’s and “did I do that” questions. When she was ill I once asked her who I would call for all life’s questions, and her reply was “you won’t have to call anyone because in your heart you’d know what id say”. That’s was the greatest gift she left me with. To trust the connection of us. Our two souls, forever connected.
The crazy thing is, I DO know what she would say, and it reflects on how I parent my kids every day. I can hear her in my mind all the time.
This is what she would say “Motherhood is the hardest most rewarding job you will ever have. Never let your loved ones go to bed mad at you. Don’t worry so much, when you feel like yelling, surrender and just love, never let them out of your sight, teach them that true beauty lies within, let them be kids, and on days when you feel your at your wits end….go get a pedi (lol) but most importantly all you have to do is try your best.”
Mothers day will come and I am supposed to be happy and celebrate the joys of being a mother but in my case, the morning usually greets me with a good cry and a feeling of longing for the touch or smell of my own mother, but I know to truly honor her, I have to be strong. It’s a day full of delight and despair and will forever be a day filled with duality.
My mom, I miss her now, I’ll miss her always, but I know she is here in my heart, so on May 13th I will love a little harder, smile a little brighter, and kiss the hell out of my kids simply because I can.
The crossroads of me becoming a mother while losing my own has changed my life. I never ever take any day for granted. You really never know what tomorrow will bring. This is life and we get one shot with no re-dos so really try and make the most of our time on this earth. How precious it is to be alive!!