Today brings a different Mother’s Day

I was invited to the Mother’s Day luncheon at Martha Manor.

Attendance at it had been a tradition in the nearly four years that my mother had lived there in a nurturing environment of caring and compassion.

But I didn’t go.

I was asked to speak at a mother-daughter banquet this weekend, but declined, thinking, yikes, what if I have a mom-meltdown moment and can’t control my tears.

Not a good visual.

Not a good idea.

On Tuesday, it was the three-month anniversary of my mom’s death.

In some ways, it has seemed like a really, really, really l-o-n-g time.

And then there are those fleeting moments where I actually forget that she’s gone, at least until I’m reminded anew by a dose of reality, mail addressed to “the estate of Ruth A. Hout,” or something as beautiful as a flowering dogwood tree she would have appreciated or when I had my first sighting the other day of a cabbage butterfly, a true mom symbol.

You could be having the most serious back porch conversation with her, but let a cabbage butterfly come flitting by and, look out, instant distraction, conversation redirected.

“Look, a cabbage butterfly,” she’d point out with intense interest, as if it were some nearly extinct, extravagant example of one of God’s many exquisite creations.

I’m not sure how I feel on this Mother’s Day without my mother here with me for the first time.

Happy. Sad. Orphaned. Sorry. Encouraged. Inspired. Thankful. Validated. Empty.

It took some time getting used to mom’s dementia that changed everything in our relationship, including, for example, that there would be no more early morning birthday calls from her reminding me that I woke her up on April 21, 1958, now it was her turn.

Her absence will be an ongoing period of adjustment as well.

Cards that came after mom died are in a big bag that I’ve reached into in recent days, knowing Mother’s Day would arrive whether or not I was emotionally ready for it.

And any card I picked out and re-read made me feel really blessed to be in such a community of caring, wrapped suddenly in a blanket when I needed warmth the most.

The words of some struck me as extra special.

“No one has the perfect words to make your sadness go away, but may you find comfort in knowing how many people wish they did.”

Or this one — “the beauty of a life well lived never dies … it continues to embrace and inspire us.”

“Only God can understand the pain of losing your mother … and right now he’s by your side holding you in his love.”

“A flower blooms for a moment, and we remember the beauty always.”

So, too, with cabbage butterflies.

(Kiaski, a resident of Richmond, is a staff columnist and community editor for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times. She can be contacted at jkiaski@heraldstaronline.com.)

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