Mother’s Day is a bittersweet time for me. My mom died on Mother’s Day several years before I got married and had my daughter. The Norwegian tries hard to make the day nice. He always gets me flowers and fixes my favorite breakfast. I force my heart to be half-full and think about how grateful I am to have a wonderful, loving daughter. Still, I’m not going to lie, the thought that College Girl never had the privilege of knowing my mom does flounder around in the half-empty part of me. I see so much of my mom in my daughter that sometimes it takes my breath away. I just know that the two of them would’ve gotten along so well and been very close. I tease my daughter and say that if her grandmother was still alive I would probably feel left out because I know they would’ve been two peas in a very exclusive pod. And you don’t know what I would give to be living that today.
So, on Mother’s Day this past Sunday, College Girl and I took some flowers to mom’s grave. I don’t really like going to the cemetery because I don’t “feel” my mom there. Honestly, I don’t like to think of that as her final resting place. But out of daughterly duty I go every so often to make sure she has fresh, bright silk flowers in her vase. I never linger. I put the flowers in place, make sure everything looks good – pull weeds if need be – and go. There are other places where I feel closer to her, like the beach because she loved it so much or when I drink my nightly mug of Sleepy Time tea (a ritual she and I used to share).
Still, Mother’s Day seemed like a good time for College Girl and me to visit the grave. Armed with a bouquet of vivid silk Gerbera daisies, she and I went, placed the flowers and were walking back to the car when a nice woman, who sported a cemetery nametag – her name was Ivy, which I found a little ironic seeing how the plant sometimes grows over graves — drove up on a golf cart. She offered us chilled bottles of water from a cooler and asked if everything was to our satisfaction. It was. In fact, the grounds looked extra nice (no weeds to pull this time). They had obviously gone the extra mile in preparation for the heavier Mother’s Day visitation. Then perky Ivy asked us to drop by the office because they were giving away free apple pies in honor of Mother’s Day. She must’ve seen me hesitate (I’ve never been offered water or pie at the cemetery) because she said, “Please do. We still have about 75 pies left and we really don’t want them to go to waste.” So we claimed our pie, and on the way home, College Girl said, “It’s kind of like Grandma sent that pie to us.”
The more I thought about it, the more I realized it did feel like a gift from her. I’m not saying that in the literal sense. They had stacks of pies in that office. I know my mom didn’t send it special delivery from heaven. But the cemetery is large. We weren’t the only visitors and we were in and out of the car in less than five minutes. Ivy could’ve easily been on the other side of the grounds or she could’ve talked to the other parties first and we would’ve been able to slip in and out without even knowing about the pie. The more I thought about it, it did feel like a gift from my mom.
I can’t say free pie makes me any more eager to visit the cemetery. I’d rather go to the beach and imagine I hear my mom’s voice in the wind and surf, and sense her spirit out there on the horizon, where heaven meets earth. But how cool that for one day – Mother’s Day – it sort of felt as if all three generations were together. It was one of the nicest Mother’s Days ever.
How about you, is there a place you feel you should go, but would rather not? If so, do you force yourself to go or not?
Please check out my May release FALLING FOR FORTUNE, book five in the 2014 Fortunes of Texas series. RT Book Reviews gives it four stars.