surviving my first mother's day without mom


the last picture of me and mom together

As a stepmom, Mother's Day is already a complicated holiday for me. Then you add the tragic loss of my mother 10 months ago combined with our continuing struggle to get pregnant and the day quickly became an emotionally explosive trifecta.

Mother's Day Weekend my emotions were on a twisting roller coaster of highs and lows. On Saturday I was overcome by despair and self-pity. By the time we got home from visiting the boys in Farmington, seething rage mixed with numb indifference clouded my mind and engulfed my body. Unsure how to help myself and wanting to be alone, I took a shower and let the water poor over me for 20+ minutes.

I sat on the floor of the tub and cried. I wanted to cry more than I could actually let out. The desire to wail and lose complete control welled up inside but I couldn’t surrender. It hurt too much. Like a crying baby, I let enough out so I could at least fall sleep.


me and mom on my wedding day

Sunday morning I woke up feeling a little better but still depressed and anxious for how the day would unfold. Thankfully my sweet husband got me a wonderful card and a thoughtful gift. He took care of breakfast and told me how much he loved me. That helped a lot.

I made it through church but it wasn't pretty. One minute I was crying tears of joy and the next they'd be tears of sadness. The boys sent me a Mother's Day video message that made my heart explode with happiness. But like all things as a stepmom, it also came with a twinge of pain.

Throughout the rest of Mother's Day I received numerous heartfelt messages of love from family members and dear friends. This Mother's Day, more than ever, I needed to hear those affirming words from the people I value most. To everyone who reached out to me, THANK YOU. It helped more than you'll ever know.

baby me and mom at the beach

Last Mother’s Day if someone had told me I’d lose my mother two and a half months later I wouldn’t have believed it. It wasn’t even a possibility. I thought I had decades before I’d have to deal with losing a parent.

My mom went to the ER late at night on a Tuesday. By the next Tuesday before the sun was up she was gone from this earth. A week after that we were on a plane back to Albuquerque. I will never know why my mother had to leave this earth so young and so much sooner than she or any of us expected. Only two more months and it will have been a year. 365 days without her. Thousands more to go.

I miss my mom terribly. They say time heals wounds, but so far time seems to have only cut mine open wider. With Mother's Day behind me, I've made it through yet another first without mom. I'm grateful to have that first behind me. It was a brutal one mixed with deep gratitude and heartfelt sorrow.

More hard firsts loom in the not too distant future. Next it will be mom's birthday in June and then the first anniversary of her death in July. I'm still trying to figure out how to handle those future events. For now, I'm grateful that despite all the pain of losing mom, I'm pushing forward trying to live my life in a way that would make her proud.

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