“The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness.” -- Honoré de Balzac
I thought I’d get through today without crying, but I was wrong.
It’s been nearly 10 years since my mother died and I was certain that Mother’s Day wouldn’t affect me the way it had when we first lost her.
And then I thought of the importance of this day while I was doing the breakfast dishes and the tears started to flow. I still miss her so much.
There are so many things I want to share with her, so many things I want to ask her, and so many stupid, selfish words, deeds and missteps that I want to apologize for that it’s driving me crazy.
I think about all the anguish I caused her as I struggled to find a career and then I’m reaching for the tissues once more.
Both my parents are gone and there are times when I feel like I’ve been set adrift in some vast ocean and land is nowhere in sight. And my Aunt Margaret’s death on Thursday is adding to that feeling of loss and abandonment.
My mother spent her last years in and out of hospitals and even then she would try to comfort me.
"Don't worry about me," she said to me one time and I rolled my eyes.
"Ask me not to breathe," I said.
Saturday was my sister’s birthday and it honor of that fabulous event the three of us—sister, myself, and our Aunt Marie—took off for the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx.
The weather was lovely and the garden is so beautiful that the city seems to disappear as you go deeper into the green. We actually saw a rabbit--an honest to God rabbit--running across the path ahead of us. I wonder if he was late for a very important date…
At one point during our walk, a little boy came charging toward us.
“Wait for Mommy,” my sister told him, but he wasn’t having any of that.
“I don’t want her,” he angrily declared and kept going up the path.
His mother came up a few seconds later and then we heard the little guy crying his way through a first rate temper tantrum.
“He didn’t want his mother,” I said. “He’ll change his mind about that one day.”
I have this distant memory of throwing a tantrum of my own when I was this kid’s age. I have no idea what it was about—as if kids actually need a reason to have a tantrum—but I recall shouting for my mother to “leave me alone!”
She seemed a little hurt by this and when she very gently said okay, that she would leave me alone, I cried even harder. I didn’t want her to leave me alone at all—not then and certainly not now.
My sister reminded me that little kids say all sorts of things because they don’t know any better. I’m trying to apply that logic to the ugly things I've said over the years, but it’s not easy.
I usually hate it when people speak for the departed, but I know that our mother wouldn’t want us to roil in guilt over some ancient argument—even though I have this strange gift for dredging up bad memories at light speed.
When she forgave us for something we did, she forgave us 100 percent, no questions asked.
That’s something to think about this Mother’s Day and for all the days that follow.