The First Mother’s Day

Dear Mabel,

I survived.  I was dreading this first Mother’s Day because I feared I would be constantly reminded you weren’t here.  I worried people would be patronizing, saying “oh, yeah, you’re still a mother,” as if there were any doubt that I wasn’t.  I thought I’d spend the day under the covers, angry at the world.

You are so loved.  Your grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends sent flowers to your grave.  We had left your graveside with a simple bouquet, not twenty-four hours beforehand, and we returned to see bucketsful of bouquets decorating your space.  They knew you’d be sad that you couldn’t be in my arms today.

I received many gifts, reminding me that people were thinking about how hard the day would be without you.  A hand carved wooden carrot.  A butterfly lamp.  A painting of you.  A tomato plant.  A purple lilac bush.  A sign for your garden.  None of these gifts simply said Happy Mother’s Day- they said Happy Mother’s day to Mabel’s mom.

But Mabel, the best gift was  It’s the story of all the things we would have done together.  You have travelled the world!  East coast, West coast, Midwest, Thailand, Greece, Tehran, Russia.  You have so many friends- more than I do.  You’ve gone to work with them, toured cities and helped them garden.  You’ve lain on the beaches, played with their toys and colored with their kids.  You’ve gone swimming, eaten ice cream and been to Disney.  You’ve run races, played tennis and drank coffee.  You’ve read books, played music and knitted.  You’ve taught classes, went to church, baked cupcakes and watched sunsets.  You’ve entered their calendars, walked on their toes, sat in their tattoos. You are living the life you should have had in the hearts of your friends and family.  All these people helped tell the world that you were real.  You existed.  You were here.

This Mother’s Day, I was not told that I was a mother; I was told what kind of mother I was.  I was worried I’d be reminded you weren’t here, but instead I was reminded of just how here you are.

I love you and miss you.  As long as I’m living my baby you’ll be.



Watercolor by Mabel's grandmother Butterfyl lamp Lilac tree Hand carved and painted by friends Flowers at Mabel's grave


4 thoughts on “The First Mother’s Day

  1. OMG your Tumblr is one of the most amazing, lovely tributes I’ve ever seen. I might have to emulate it. How comforting, I would imagine, to know that all over the world people are loving you and remembering Mabel.

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