1st Mother’s Day without Mom   Leave a comment

 

It’s Mother’s Day.  I know that I should be missing my mom, that I shouldn’t be able to stay composed what with this being the first time I have to spend this holiday without her, but I promise you that I am truly OK.  My mother was a pure delight of a human being.  She was laughter and dignity and charm and compassion.  She could take care of you no matter what condition you were in and always leave you feeling as though you were the most important person in the world and at no time did she ever make you feel as though you were putting her out.  Her love and care were effortless, she was able to comfort you without putting someone else down, she was able to build you up without setting someone else to take the fall.  She could spot a liar from a mile away, but she wouldn’t always call you on it because she knew sometimes it was just what you needed.  She was nobodies fool, but from time to time, she would let you get away with murder.

My mother had a strong faith, she talked about God and Jesus all of the time.  So often that it was easy to forget everything you had ever heard about them from anywhere else and find yourself starting to have a relationship with them through her.  But she didn’t use this to her advantage like most people would have.  She wasn’t interested in controlling anybody or gaining an upper hand.  She just wanted everyone to be able to have the same peace, the same satisfaction that she was afforded by sheer virtue of her closeness and trust in what she believed.  Her faith was so simple and pure that when we discussed it later on in life and came to points where we disagreed about religion and even the existence of god, she was very comfortable letting me have my own mind provided I allowed her to have hers.  She didn’t need to dominate my lack of faith.  She just didn’t want me attacking her need for it.  And I respected my mother’s beautiful relationship with her religion so much and was so grateful for all of the comfort and strength her faith and concepts of god had provided her over the decades that I never wanted to debase those ideals now at the end of her life when she was so frail and ill and they could stand to serve her most.  It was a deal I was more than happy to strike.  I found no greater joy than in merely accepting my mother for whom and what she was and in being accepted for the same by her.

My mother and I always had a close, odd relationship.  It evolved like everything does.  We were very dependant on one another the last handful of years even when I lived in Georgia.  I would make calls to her several times a week crying about how sad I was in what I could only classify as the “completely backwards, backwoods south”.  She always urged me to come home, which might sound like a typical mother but it wasn’t my mother, not typically.  And when she needed money or advice, she would call me, her youngest.  And when she was ill, she called me.  And I came home to care for her because my heart was always with her and in her illness I was dying and being reborn.

But the last two years of our time together were two of the best years of my life.  Yes, my mother was dying.  And yes, I was basically jobless, near homeless, suffering from a manic episode that would not pass, in and out of mental health treatment, dealing with many other family crisis-type issues and flat out broke, but I was there for my mom when she was sick, when she was scared, when no one else could figure out how to be.  I was the one she called and I was able, while going through all else, to be there for her.  We would stay up all night talking and laughing.  We got to discuss things that I’ve always wanted to, we got to gossip, we go to philosophize, we got to hold each other while we cried, I got to spoil her rotten on whatever food she wanted to eat and all the ice cream and back rubs she could ever want.  It was like heaven for me because for a while there my mom got to finally be the center of the universe and in my mind that was what she always deserved.  It took old age, 4th stage cancer and an overall tiredness to allow her to let me give it to her, but finally I was able to show her just how special she was to me.

I wasn’t perfect at it.  I would go a few weeks here and there where my own mental illness symptoms would flair up and she would have to take a back seat to my raging.  But in a way, that was a certain kind of blessing.  I needed some of my mom that I hadn’t been able to get up till that point.  And having me on my best behavior 85% of the time gave my mom a clear comparison to see just how hard being bi-polar really is and she could finally sympathize with my struggles.  It broke down walls for us so that I could explain what my life was like and so she could ask questions and get more involved.  My mother passed on knowing all about therapy, medication, symptoms and other treatments.  And that’s really important to me because now when things get hard on me it helps me to know that my mom understood and would want me to seek help and take care of my problems and not just hide or deny or pray it away.  She was proud of me for all that I dealt with and she loved me for exactly who I am.

Last summer, my mother and I were up in the middle of the night talking.  She was sick, coughing a lot and having a hard time catching her breath.  She was a few weeks away from going into the hospital for the last time.  She was telling me, between struggling gasps, about how when she was pregnant with me a lot of people thought she was too old to have another child and how maybe, just to keep the peace, she should have an abortion.  I already knew all about that, but I figured she needed to say it for some reason so I just listened.  She stopped talking for a few minutes and her expression changed.  I can’t really describe the look on her face.  It just warmed my heart in a way nothing else ever has.  She looked at me for what felt like forever, only now I know it wasn’t forever and a part of me wishes that it could’ve been.  She smiled at me and then said, “Can you just imagine if I did what they said where I would be now?”

You hear something your whole life and it goes from being too complex to comprehend, to too painful that first time you get it, to too numbing because you’ve just had to find a way to make it not matter anymore.  I’ve known my whole life that I was the kind of pregnancy that made my really Catholic mother contemplate an abortion and on many levels in many ways I have had to wrestle with that knowledge.

But with that one shared moment, all the pain washed away and I was reborn.  I still have a lot of struggle in me.  But my mother adores me and trusts me and knows that all the pain and sacrifice was more than worth it because she raised the kind of daughter who would always be there for her mother.  And that is because she was always there for me.

So today is Mother’s Day.  And I assure you I do not miss my mother today.  Not because I do not love her dearly, but because she is more apart of me today then she was the first 37 years of my life.  She is in my heart, on my mind and all around me.  And in her love, I have all the faith in the world.

Jen Czahur

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