"She Walked in Beauty": Remembering My Mom
This blog has little to do with skincare this week. It is about motherhood and in particular, my mom. Well, not quite true. In a way she has everything to do with my passion for skincare. She shaped and influenced everything about me today from the way I make my bed to the way I love my own children. So much so, I still deeply grieve her loss every single day. And for those of you who still have your mother, I encourage you to read on. The idea of losing a parent and the pain that goes with it was completely foreign to me a year ago. I think back to that time before and those of my dear friends who had already lost a parent, and I just marvel at how unavailable, unaware, and how clueless I was. Not on purpose of course, but at that time I had no idea how they were feeling or what I should say in way of comfort.
My Mom was a lot stronger than I ever gave her credit for. I realize that the older I get, and life gets rough sometimes. Her childhood wasn’t all lollipops and giggles, quite the opposite. My Mom never let me know that until I was older though. Honestly, I don’t understand how she was the Mom she was, coming from the place she had been. From that my mom taught me strength. She taught me you can rise from anything. You choose who you are and what you want your life to become.
My Dad and her married when she was only 16. It was love a 1st sight for him. I can’t blame him; my mom was quite the Betty. I remember looking at her when I was little and knowing I had the most beautiful Mom. He rescued her from where she came from, but she knew she wanted a completely different life than her family. From that she taught me how to love. With your whole heart, fight for it, fix it and love deeper. Love isn’t easy, or everyone would do it.
She had never even had Christmas until the 1st year they dated. Christmas is huge in our family... like crazy awesome, ridiculous over the top every year. I know why now. My Mom was more excited than my sister and I each year. She was childlike in this way. From that my mom taught me to always have fun. Laugh and laugh hard. Humor was a constant staple in our house. Some say I’ve inherited her smart mouth. Apparently, that doesn’t skip a generation ever! Thanks Mom. As the saying goes, “if you can’t laugh you will cry”. This is completely true. Laugh my friends.
My Mom always looked put together. Even when she was so sick, she got up, showered, put on her makeup and jewelry. It wasn’t her trying to impress, it’s what made her feel good about herself. From that my mom taught me pride. To have pride in yourself and family. I guess it’s instilled in me. It’s probably one of the main reasons I went into the profession I did. At her funeral my Dad asked us to say something about my mom. Tell stories, laugh and honor her. I have to say, I was in a panic. I thought, “gee thanks Dad”. The worse day of my life and you want me to publicly speak… awesome. The night before I sat in bed writing down some memories and trying to bring it all together like a last-minute book report. One memory I have so vividly is my mom sitting me on the counter, I was probably only three or four and watching her apply her makeup, flawlessly and showing me how to do it. I was hooked. That was it for me. I knew what I wanted to do.
Some words for those who lost your Mom’s... I get it. I understand now. You feel orphaned in a sense. Lost on how you’re going to mother your own children. The days and months after I lost my Mom, I functioned. I got up, got dressed and mothered, but I realize now I was just going through motions, not dealing with the fact she was gone. You have good days and days where you feel like you can’t breathe. Days where you know no one understands and relates. I found I only wanted to talk to other people who lost a parent. Days where you want or even go to pick up the phone to call her. Days where you’re angry or the guilt is overwhelming. I should have done this, called more, made more time or listened better. Days where you don’t want to parent, when you need advice only a Mother can give you. You have days of complete breakdowns while your kids eat dinner in the next room. Days where you just want to get in a car and just drive. I get it, I’ve done them all. What I can tell you at this point in my grief is that it sucks and sucks even more later. Does it get easier in a way? Maybe, you and reality have a little talk and you come to terms with it, but your heart still hurts.
For those of you that may someday have a bestie going through losing a parent here’s some advice. Just because we don’t bring it up doesn’t mean we are healed. Not talking about it doesn’t make us feel better. My kids do this to protect my feelings. I find them hushing each other when one goes to say something about their Mimi. The side glances and Mom lip faces that say, “shut up stupid you’re going to upset her”. News flash, I’m already upset. I like when someone remembers a memory of my Mom, especially one I don’t remember. So, ask us how we feel and then know we are lying when we say okay. One thing I’ve learned is to just take control and do what I feel the other person dealing with grief might need. One of my besties, Jenny did exactly that. My husband had to travel the week after my Mom passed, which means I had to be alone. She came from work each day and fed us dinner and sat with me until my eyes were sleepy. She knew I was lying when I claimed I was okay, she knew I didn’t want silence.
Learn not to take offense when someone is grieving. I didn’t want to hear anyone’s trivial problems, issues, or stories. Sometimes I would look around the room and silently scream in my head “I don’t care” and “I just lost my Mom, and everyone is just going on about their day like normal”. Check in... just because you think it’s the proper amount of time for someone to move on and be happy... you haven’t lost your mom. Everyone is different, but don’t shy away from asking how they are. Somedays all I want is a hug and for someone to say it’s okay. That someone use to be my Mom. Moms always make everything okay, that’s why you want them when you’re sick. They have the magic touch, words and love. At 41 I still want my Mom when I’m sick, no offense husbands but your crap.
So, love on your Mom if she’s still here this Sunday, it’s not all about you. Pick up the phone and call your friend on Mother's Day if she’s lost her Mom and tell her your proud of her strength and Mom skills. Encourage your husbands to call their Mom’s, write their own cards and tell their Mom just how special she is.