Guest post: Mother's Day - "I buy a card that will never be opened"
Beth Law remembers her mother, who died almost two years ago, and reflects on other families who will be feeling loss this Mother's Day
Posted on: Fri 04-Mar-16 11:44:52
(35 comments )
"I'm having twin girls." I screamed excitedly down the phone, knowing that my mother would be the person just as excited as I was at that moment. Similarly, my first instinct, as soon as I'd found out I was pregnant, had been to tell her - even before I told my husband. No matter how old I was, it was always my mother who I went to with news. If I needed advice, I went to her.
Her first granddaughters were born in June 2013, four and a half years after the birth of my son. The girls were honeymoon babies after our wedding the previous September. Our lives felt perfect, and like there was nothing else we could wish for. We took them home to complete our family, and my parents were there, waiting with our son Charlie. I was on top of the world, wholly unaware that life was about to come crashing down around us.
Three and a half week after the girls were born, this word barged its way into our lives and pressed the destruct button. My 58-year-old, fit and healthy mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer. She was given six months to live.
While we grappled with the news that none of us could have seen coming, we felt lost. No one knew where to turn. The one person who always fixed everything for us all, the one person who put us back in line - she was the one who was crumbling away.
As a child, you think your parents are indestructible. I had always seen my mother as a woman who seemed to be able to fix things, sort things out, and make everything somehow better. She was my hero; and superheroes don't die do they? I'd never thought about her dying. Old people died, but she wasn't old - she was strong. Cancer, I learned, doesn't care.
The future is shaped so differently now. We set one less place at the table now on Christmas, at celebrations, for birthdays; and it's still hard to accept that she is never coming back.
I wanted to convince myself that she would be fine. Of course she would be fine. I created fairy tales in my head, imagining that everything would be okay. But there was no happy ending and, 22 months on, I am still feeling the painful aftershocks of my mother's death.
Something pops into my head that I need to ask her about every day. The smallest things remind me of her. Sometimes, I just long to speak to her. I often wonder what she would make of the girls now. They were 10 months old when she passed away and I know that the pain of knowing she wouldn't see them grow up was gut-wrenching for her.
I haven't just lost my mother, I feel like I've lost part of our past and future. Gone are all her memories that I never got to know about, gone are all the answers she never got to tell me. The future is shaped so differently now. The first days of school, teenage tantrums, university, engagements, weddings - she won't be a part of them. We set one less place at the table now on Christmas, at celebrations, for birthdays; and it's still hard to accept that she is never coming back. There will never be one more phone call, one more joke, one more hug - there will be no more memories that we make together.
When I realise the enormity that her death has left, I ache. My heart aches. The lump returns to my throat and tears again fall at the finality and cruelty of death.
Mother's Day, like birthdays and anniversaries, is incredibly hard. Card shops brim with 'Best Mum' paraphernalia, bunches and bunches of flowers are carried proudly out of the shops - but I carry mine to a grave. I buy a card that will never be opened and write words that will never be read. I shouldn't be taking a card and flowers to a graveside. My babies should be bounding through the door and proudly handing their handmade creations to their beloved granny. They should not be standing in a cemetery, looking at a gravestone.
On Mother's Day, there will be so many families feeling loss - and there will be those who have lost touched with loved ones or no longer speak to relatives. There will be mothers who don't have their children in their arms and ones that dream one day that they will get a card bearing that very special title. We never know how quickly things might slip away. This Mother's Day, I will be treasuring what I have.
By Beth Law
I lost DM 24 months ago. Empathy. It's the little things which we told each other about every day, the jokes we shared. I still like them, maybe even more now for her sake, but there is an aching hole.
My mum died 4 years ago, a result of an accident 8 years ago that ultimately led to her developing dementia
I still miss her. The OP was beautifully written: it is indeed the little things you miss, the sharing of events and memories, both past and present, all the things you never thought to ask, as you weren't at that life stage (such as, how did you cope with the teenage years? ), the non-judgemental advice, the help when things get on top of you....
But I remind myself that my mum is still here in a way - in the woman she made me.
And when ds (15) said
in a nice way that he hated us because he now wants to correct friends when they say "I done good", I was able to smile and say he needs to thank his granny, as she was the one who inculcated those grammar habits into me.
Beautifully written. I'm so sorry for your loss. it has been just over 6 months since I lost my dad suddenly at 68. I'm grieving for him and also for the part of my mum that will never return. I miss him so much.
Im sorry for your loss. Unfortunately I will not be getting a card as my dd died. I also carry flowers to a grave albeit small and not a Mother's one
Yes we should treasure what we have and never take for granted. Death is indeed very very cruel
For you Beth
Beautiful piece of writing & a beautiful photograph of the two of you.
I lost my mum in June 2014. The evil cancer!!!
At the end of April she was in Mexico with her friends, dancing on the tables and sending me photos of their lunchtime cocktails on the beach. She returned home and 3 days later felt awful. We thought it was dehydration and general malaise from the holiday ... Add in plane germs.
A week later she was diagnosed with small cell lung cancer. We rushed the 230 miles to be by her side.
"How are you mum?" " better now you're here!"
As the week progressed my disabled DS got chicken pox and on the day mum was discharged he was admitted for 2 weeks. I nearly lost him too. Mum was at his bedside almost every single day. After 4 weeks stuck up north we finally went home and had planned a return 2 weeks later. We did!!! Mum had been told by the oncologist that it was palliative and now chemo could be given. We arrived in the Friday and mum looked I'll and weak. She deteriorated on the Saturday and the community nurse explained that mums death was imminent ... We were shocked! She did in the Sunday at 4:15 just after the priest arrived... Just like her mum!!!
I still pick up the phone for advice, I still have so many questions. She was my best friend and we spoke at least 3 times a day.
I want my mum and Mother's Day makes it much worse!
Beautifully written post that I can empathise with. My mum died 14 months ago, aged 53 from cancer. I grieve for the life that she should be having, that we should be having. It still seems unreal. Things like this don't happen to people like us. But they do and it did.
I treasure every day that I get with my wonderful family as life is so precious and unpredictable.
How poignant and true. I can't imagine your loss and your pain...I've only ever lost babies via miscarriage and that was bad enough...
The finality of death is cruel and it makes me want to enjoy every moment I have on this planet, even more.
Oh sugar my heart breaks for you. I have one DD who is still little and I cannot imagine what you are going through - I don't think I could be so brave.
Jeez mumsnet, some of us who lost out mums this year would like to be able to hide this post. It's brilliantly written but a bit too close to home right now.
I too lost my dm 3 weeks after Id give birth to prem twins both of whom were still in SCBU. My DM never met them. On the Tuesday Isaw her in hospital, she fell in hospital on. Thursday and died on the Sunday without regaining consciousness. It's 12 years now and I still miss her everyday.
So sorry for your loss OP and yours sugar at least losing a parent is the correct order, no one should have to bury their child..
Hufflepuffin if you look at the top of the thread there should be a hide thread button and then it won't appear on your active conversations.
My dearest mum committed suicide seven years ago. I miss her all the time but I find Mother's Day particularly hard. Her birthday and the anniversary of her death can slip by without anyone noticing but me, but on Mother's Day everyone is acutely aware that mine is the mum that isn't there. I try to focus on the joy of being a mother and being surrounded by my beautiful children but I still get a jolts of pain throughout the day and wish the day away
for everyone here who has lost loved ones.
I have a friend who lost her dm to depression and suicide. She's a mother herself and it's an awful mix of emotions in the run up to Mothets' Day.
Oh .OP your post made me cry but in a nice way really .My mum died in similar circumstances (cancer) 20 years ago and I still miss her. I know how proud she would have been of her grandchildren. It is the little things that remind me of her but I am glad they do because they keep the memory strong. To all of you ,on Mothers' Day, who have lost someone
I wet shopping for my mums Mothers Day card and present early this week. I ended up walking around with tears streaming down my face when it hit me this would be the last time ever that I would have to do this.
My mum is dying. She has weeks to go, but has altzeimers, so is blissfully unaware.
All the way through this, I have been the practical one. Hospital appointments, care, doctors appointments, supporting my stepfather who is simply not coping. Then I go to buy a bloody overpriced, hyped up to hell card. And lose it.
[Flowers] to you OP.
Got it all to come - found out yesterday my mum had been admitted into a hospice - cancer again.
She's gone down hill so fast after finding out in NYE. I'm heading up north on the train on my own leaving my DD and DS with daddy - but all so sad and bittersweet as I won't be there in the morning for Mother's Day ... But I will make sure I am back early afternoon.
Since the loss of my first husband on Mothers Day 1995 I struggled with it. I found out I was expecting my first baby in 2005. In November 2005 my Mum died from breast cancer at the age of 52. Pregnancy was so hard without my Mum. I have three beautiful children who I believe she watches over. I try so hard to celebrate being a Mum on mothers day. The truth is I miss my own Mum with every part of me every day. Thank god for my amazing hubby and my sister.
I lost my mum 31 years ago (I was 17).I'm the same age now as she was when she died which just emphasizes how young she was and how much of life she missed out on. It was close to Mothers Day then so the anniversary of her death is imminent as well. I still miss her even if I have had my adult life so far without a mother.She missed my wedding,my children being born,growing up everything. I will celebrate Mothers Day with my children but I'll nip out at some point to take her flowers and be sad for a while.
for all missing their mothers this Mothers Day
My dd's dad died on Mothers Day 2010. It's a different date but forever associated with loss for us both.
Mother's Day always reminds me that not everybody's mums will be there to celebrate with them.
I'm thankful to still have my mum, but Mother's Day is painful because I don't have my daughter here to celebrate with me. She would have been 2 this year and would have made me a card with the help of my mum - just like my eldest has.
Ahhh I miss her.. Chin up.
Mother's Day can be a kicker can't it!
I'll be taking flowers to my mums grave tomorrow, I lost her to lung cancer 21 years ago age 44. I'm now desperately trying to recover from losing my fiancé just over a year ago to small cell lung cancer age 49.
Life can be so cruel.