Mother’s Day 2012: Five Years Later

It’s May again, the month I dread, and every year for the past five years, I’ve written similar blog posts for Mother’s Day.

2012 is exactly the same.

Five years after my Mother’s death, I have nothing new to report, no wisdom to drop, no life changing epiphanies about dealing with grief which sounds somber, but really not. The death of a parent is tricky, but even more, confusing. There is no one magical formula or guideline, step-by-step instructions, something – anything, on how to feel, what to feel and why.

For the longest time, I thought there was something wrong with me. There were no unanswered questions, zero regrets. No confusion, extreme sadness, just logic. My Mother is no longer on the planet and I immediately dealt with that reality which didn’t seem…normal. So I questioned myself. What’s wrong with me? Do I not know how to feel? Am I out of touch with my emotions? Is my coping mechanism abnormal?

I would search deep within for indicators of hidden feelings but nothing. I was simply dealing with my reality. Then, I start questioning myself again: what is wrong with me, this doesn’t seem right. Where are my feelings? Perhaps I am selfish, self absorbed or worse, a sociopath…then I look for feelings again. That process is a bit of nuisance and sometimes, it drives me so batty I want the voices in my head to stop. Then as I am annoyed with myself and the voices, it’d start all over again: stop that, self reflection is important. What’s wrong with me, am I selfish, etc., etc.

Back to square one.

Recently, an important person in my life lost their mother. I wanted to have all the right things to say, but aside from condolences, the words from my heart were: it’s ok to feel however you want. Whether it’s anger, sorrow, confusion, regret, relief that she is no longer in pain or even numbness, there is no one way you are supposed to feel so allow yourself to just…be. I know. I was there. I am still there.

Then I realized, I wish someone had given me that advice.

It took years and someone I deeply care about to lose their mother to see: we are different. We have different relationships with our parents, different coping mechanisms and various life experiences that make it necessary for us to come up with our own answers. It’s scary and unsettling but that’s the way it is. The way it has to be.

Hindsight, perhaps that is the life lesson that comes from death. That as we seek answers, we soul search and face demons that help us grow and become better people.  If anything, my Mother’s death has taught me to be vulnerable and more open with my feelings. Something I always thought of as a weakness but more accurately foreign, as we are not taught to be emotionally attune in our culture. Emotional intelligence is something I force learned and still learning every day. See? We are all different.

So if you or someone close to you is dealing with death, please remember to allow yourselves / themselves to feel however you / they want. It’s ok. It’s the way it has to be.

In closing, I will share the story of my mother’s death which is more inspirational, than sad. Just like I do every year.
Happy Mother’s Day :)

Mother’s Day 2007 to 2008…
…what a difference a year makes.

As some of you may or may not know, I lost my mom to cancer last year around this time. Since it’s Mother’s Day, I wanted to do something for her but wasn’t sure what…

After some thought, I decided to share what I wrote after she passed. I am normally an extremely private person, but her story is so amazing, if anyone (aside myself) is inspired, that would be the best ode to her… :)

Read the rest here.

People have contributed their own stories and feedback on my G+.


10 thoughts on “Mother’s Day 2012: Five Years Later

  1. Some people don’t even think or feel about the loss of their parents. I still think of my father often and he’s been gone since 2000. This means we truly loved them. My children sometimes act as if they are completely independent of me, and then I see them do, or say something, that I absolutely know I taught them in one way or another. We become who we love, and when they are gone, they live on. Yes, dad is gone, his voice, his smile, his silly questions when I called, “hey Budd, whatcha got up your sleeve,” as if I was going to pull out a knife. Guess what, I just heard his voice. Don’t you still hear your mom’s?
    Take care.

  2. My father passed 5 years ago. My mother wrote me out of the obit, and I didn’t know he passed until two months later when a friend gave me her condolences. So Mother’s day is hard for me.

  3. Hello Mona,
    I follow you daily through G+, but I thought that my comment to this would fit here more than there.
    First of all I’m really sorry to hear that your Mom has passed away five years ago. I haven’t lived that experience myself yet, but I know for sure that nobody can get “prepared” enough for that dreaded moment. And no matter how many times that person has told you “don’t cry for me when I’ll be gone, ’cause it’s useless” in the past, you *will* do it anyway… because we are not machines, and we cannot entirely command our emotions as we please. You can only stack them up inside of you, till they explode. So you are totally right: when it happens, the only thing you can do is _be yourself_.

    A big hug from Italy!

  4. Hey Mona, thanks for sharing your thoughts. I too lost my mom to cancer 7 yrs ago. She was nisei, born west coast Canada. I too was brought up in a the same cultural mindset as you. I never displayed emotion and was referred to as Mr. Spock in school. When I had kids I became more open but it wasn’t until my Mom passed that I finally started to realize that it was OK to have my own emotional feelings. It was the first time in four decades that I cried. I have grown emotionally every day since. My condolences for your loss but I hope you celebrate the wonderful life that you shared with your Mother and once again Thanks for sharing. Arigato gozaimasu

  5. Mona, just wanted to say hello and thank you. Lost my father in 1990 quick and final and any grief was directed towards my mother who had spent all of her adult life with a good provider and partner and she missed him, I being the youngest child, had 2 older sisters who once again managed to guide me through a difficult and unsettling time, I have never been good at last words, as they tend to be recollections or first thoughts respoken uneasily.
    Just before Christmas December 14, my mother had had enough of her alzhiemers understanding of Golden Years.she had spent the last 7 years in a great nursing home, 5 years with a lessening grip and 14 months having life slipping past her. Now a strange but not unknown turn of events or her condition that in my mothers case I found almost fantastic, stage 7 or late stage offers little in the way of surprise or noticable change in most.
    Late or final stage without recognition or speach is slow in forming but it was as if my mother with little or no capacity or physical ability to fight decided there and then that she had had enough. Helen was 85 years old, had spent nearly 2 years without knowing or shinning on of recognition of my sisters or myself. Head nurse phoned me and advised that my mother had made a concious choice , she would no longer drink or eat.
    Helen could not be tricked with chocolate or fooled by sideways advance. Helen did not eat or drink again – we had a “do not resuscitate” or “DNR”, 4th day and she was released by the blinding grip and death allowed her to lay down and without a tremble, sleep.
    I like you had no previous experience with a passing of my favorite person in the world.
    I felt a rush of fresh air that at first unhinged me, and then felt good and proud of my mother and in her ability with the last chemical thread of her spirit to challenge her disease. She could not stop the advance, but she could end it on her terms and she choose to do so.
    I feel blessed in a way that we had a hospice like place, very much her home and even when lucid she loved the caring staff and the place. Father did a very good job of providing up to and including the end, she wanted for nothing and left 2 daughters and a son. None of us knowing how or what to say in death, but knowing how very much she had meant in our lifetimes. I miss her very much, but she had enjoyed a life well lived, and I feel that if she could edit the final scene the only change would be the time of passing to be 5:30 pm rather than 5:05 pm as my oldest sister had spent 12 hours getting bedside as quick as possible yet arrived 9 minutes after death.

  6. I don’t even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was good. I do not know who you are but definitely you are going to a famous blogger if you are not already ;) Cheers!

  7. The life is strange always take what we love,I understand your feelings is hard but is the way you become a better persone and strong, I hv a similar situation but always remember the good times and advice she give you and your heart gone be open to understand the nature of our lives. Blessing for you from the bottom of my heart mona,I new on all about affiliates system want to learn more wish i could get some advice from you.Thanks P.D. : Sorry for my grammar but i still learning english smile to the world

  8. TIA!! Amazing post, love! I am always saying that I think one of the worst emotions we can experience in life is the feeling of regret. I am always encouraging everyone I know/work with (inluding myself!) to live in a way that you will have no regrets. I know that if I am always proud of the woman I am and how I’ve “shown up” in all situations, I’m golden! Thanks for such a great read! Party on, friend.

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