I’m sitting in our family room, looking out to our little garden. I can see the daffodils and other bulbs that have bravely pushed their way through the still hard soil of my flower beds -hoping that the temperature won’t drop too much again, so that they can survive their due lifespan. I reflect.
These past few weeks, the weather has been even more changeable than we are used to in this part of the world: one minute it’s unusually warm and sunny, the next it’s overcast; a cold wind blows with force, the temperature drops suddenly and it snows heavily for a few days; the sun comes out again -melting the snow and ice- and then the clouds hide it once more; it rains… it pours, and before it stops… I see a rainbow.
In the Northern Hemisphere of this planet Earth we inhabit, spring is on the way, bringing milder temperatures and more hours of daylight with it. Slowly, everything is beginning to come back to life: the flowers, the trees, the grass…, And my feelings about this impending season of rebirth are as changeable as the weather.
I used to love spring. Now it’s not an easy season, but which one is? As the seasons change, they all bring different memories, special days and anniversaries, but maybe in springtime -surrounded by new life- my son’s absence, and the absence of all my loved ones who are no longer here, is more poignant. It occurs to me that Nature is beautiful and cruel at the same time.
I have no choice but to greet all the emotions this new season brings, to sit with them, to acknowledge them, to allow them ‘to be’. As we cannot stop the new life that springs all around us with renewed vigour, as we cannot stop the world turning and the seasons changing, resisting my feelings would be futile and unhelpful.
I am also painfully aware that Mother’s Day is nearly here again. It is not a day we share across the world. In the UK, where we have lived since 1996, it is celebrated on the fourth Sunday of Lent -exactly 3 weeks before Easter Sunday -and it is also known as Mothering Sunday. In Spain, where I’m from, it is the first Sunday in May. In the United States and in much of Latin America, it is the second Sunday in May…
I always found Mother’s Day to be an imposed, commercialised celebration -like so many others- but it has taken a new meaning since losing my son. I now realise with sadness that he won’t be here this Mother’s Day. I want to hide away on the day, to escape all the hype and to avoid seeing all the mothers celebrating it with their children. I don’t have any other children to celebrate it with and -while I know I will always be Steven’s mum- I wonder whether I have lost my status as a mother on this Earth.
I remember vividly all the Mother’s Days I celebrated with my son -in Spain and in the UK- 27 of them, to be exact. I remember all the cards, the little hand-made gifts he brought me from school, the flower bouquets, the special meals.
And in the next breath, I think about all the other mothers who are missing their children, and who won’t be able to spend Mother’s Day with them either, this year or any other year.
I feel my heart swell with their sadness, with their longing, and also with love for them all: the ones I have met, hugged, cried and laughed with, the ones I know only through social media, through messaging and phone conversations, those who have shared their stories and their children with me, those I hope to meet soon, and those I may never meet.
I want to send all those mothers a heart-felt hug across the energy fields, as we all wish with all our hearts that we could hear another ‘Happy Mother’s Day, mum’ from our children, that we could get another card, another bouquet of flowers, that we could have another meal with them.
I hope we can all feel those hugs we so long for in our dreams, as another season without our children’s physical presence comes and goes, and very specially on Mother’s Day -whenever that is where we live.
My wish for all of us is that the darkness will be followed by light, that better days of more gentle and predictable weather will come, that the rain and the sunshine may work together to allow us to see a beautiful rainbow. And when the storms hit, when we feel as if we don’t have the strength to keep going, that we may be able to lean on each other.
We can’t do this alone, but together -with the help of our children- we may be able to find some semblance of peace again in each springtime, and in every other season.
I can imagine our children in spirit rooting for us to begin to appreciate the beauty of this season again, so that they can enjoy it with us, making the distance between our worlds a little smaller. Let’s try to do it as a gift for them, in their honour.
With much love and compassion
A special acknowledgement
With special thanks to the wonderful Merce Castro Puig, fellow bereaved mum and amazing writer. She continues to inspire me, and I want to acknowledge that I have incorporated some of her thoughts into this blog post. If you can read Spanish, please visit Merce’s blog or follow her on Facebook:
If you can read Spanish, please visit Merce’s blog or follow her on Facebook: