Today is mother’s day. It’s also your mum’s birthday, my grandma’s birthday. It’s also exactly six months to the day since she passed away. It’s not quite the Mother’s Day you’d hoped for is it? It will probably never be the Mother’s Day you dream for again, will it? Really, it’s just a pretty shitty day and no amount of flowers or dark chocolate coated ginger will fix that, even though I know they’re your favourite.
I’m sorry, Mum. I’m sorry I can’t fix it. I’m sorry you’re feeling so sad, because this is meant to be your day, this is meant to be a day for you to be celebrated. I’m sorry I don’t understand, I’m sorry I don’t get it because when I’m hurt, or frustrated, or need advice, I call you. I call you because you’re my best friend, because you know me inside and out like no one else on this planet, because you call me on my shit and lift me up when I’m down. You come to my side when I’m sick, even though I’m an adult and can look after myself. You’re equally the most beautiful and selfless woman I’ve ever met and I’m lucky to call you my mother. Don’t forget that you’re my rock and I’m so sorry you’ve lost yours.
That day in hospital was one of the worst days of my life and we probably don’t talk about it enough. We don’t talk about how quickly it happened and how it all just felt so wrong. How I came straight off a plane from New York and into a hospital room where my once tenacious, sprightly ‘Gma’ was now struggling to breathe on a respirator. How seeing you cry broke my heart and made me want to bundle you up and take you away from all of it. How your sons and my brothers held us all together while we collapsed into an emotional mess, not caring about how to pick up the pieces. How they held grandma’s hand and rubbed her feet so gently. They’re great sons of yours, great brother’s of mine. You should be proud.
I’d never been there before. I’d never had someone so close to me die, let alone being in the same room when it happened. We all were there as the very life slipped out of a woman we all thought would live past 100. A woman that was still driving a ride on lawn mower at the age of 80 and whose vocabulary did not contain the words “I can’t”. A woman that migrated to Australia on her own at the age of 17 and inevitably became one of the country’s first female pilots. A woman so intelligent and vibrant she could take you from yelling to laughing within a matter of seconds, and we all know she was never short of opinion. I miss her too, mum.
I know you secretly blame yourself. I know you feel responsible, like for some reason you could have saved her. But, what you don’t realise, is that it’s about a bigger picture. When Grandma sold her acreage in Queensland and moved in with us in Sydney, she was finally happy. She was around people, around her family. She had people to talk to again and I was privileged to get to know her better. We became friends, Mum. We moved past the ‘redundant Christmas presents and obligatory birthday calls’. Mum, she taught me about life. She wasn’t afraid to talk about sex or politics or religion. She taught me that if I wanted something I had to go out and get it. That I’d probably only come across a ‘good man’ once or twice in my life and when I did I should act accordingly. And, that if something didn’t feel right, then I should bloody well speak up about it. She just taught me.
But, that’s not all she did. She brought our family together. Through her passing she reunited you and your sisters with your brother, someone you hadn’t spoken to in a long time. Her death allowed you all to put your differences behind you and reconnect on what the most important thing is, family. She allowed you all to love and be loved again.
It’s not your fault, Mum. She got sick, and no one can control that. I’ve learnt that life and people that matter are precious and I shouldn’t take my loved ones for granted. So, Happy Mother’s Day, Mum, you’re the one that matters. I want you to enjoy this day with the people that love you, the ones that are beside you right now and we can celebrate Grandma’s birthday together. She would have been 85 and if she were here, she would tell you and dad to go out and live your life and do something that makes you happy.
So, on this happy day, I hope you’ll do that, in the spirit of Grandma. Go do what makes you happy, i’ll be your rock if you need one.
Happy Mother’s Day.