Celebrating My Mom After She Passed Away
It's that time of year again when stores have Mother's Day displays set up with all types of mugs and pampering sets for mom. This is a bittersweet time of year for me because I lost my mom a week before Mother's Day 12 years ago. I am blessed to be a mom and enjoy celebrating each year with my son. Creating special ways to celebrate my mom throughout the year with my son, has allowed me to create joyful memories of her in the present.
On 5/4/07 I was grocery shopping with my son (who was 1 at the time) when I received a frantic phone call from my sister. An EMT contacted her and informed her that our mother had a heart attack. They resuscitated her and she was being admitted to the hospital. She never regained consciousness and passed away three days later. She was on her way to a job interview when it happened. She stopped at a mailbox to mail something to my dad (who was out of town at the time). We know this because a couple of weeks after her funeral, my dad received the envelope with a little note she included with it. She put the date and time on her note. We know her heart attack was moments after.
Her unexpected death woke me up to how precious life really is and how important it is to take action in the present to live a meaningful life now. My mom would frequently write out plans for things she wanted to accomplish year after year. These things she said she would do "one day". Sadly that "one day" didn't come. She was a people-pleaser who valued the happiness of others over her own. She struggled setting boundaries and didn't take care of herself the way she should have. Her death made me realize the changes I needed to make in my own life.
I have gone through a deep healing process over the years, but there are times throughout the year when the hurt will resurface. Creating traditions to honor my mom has helped me feel connected to her. Every year on my mom's birthday I take my son out for strawberry milkshakes. (I get a veganized version for myself now). My mom used to love strawberry milkshakes and would order them whenever we went out for ice cream. My mom was an amazing cook and baker. When she would offer us something she baked or some other treat she would say "take one for each hand". I have shared this wisdom with my son, who also agrees with this logic :-) Throughout the year I also incorporate special dishes my mom would make. It makes my kitchen smell like she is there cooking with me. (Thanksgiving can be an especially emotional time.)
It's hard to believe that it will be 12 years since my mom passed away. I wish I could get her something from one of these "Mother Day" displays and spend the day with her celebrating. Her love of nature, travel and random adventures has influenced the experiences I have with my son. I feel she lives on through these moments that I share with him.
Me with my mom back in 1997.
Jennifer Shlomovich is a certified professional coach who helps people-pleasers become confident communicators. She received her training and certification from iPEC (Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching). She is also a member of the ICF, which holds coaches to the highest standard of ethical practice. To contact Jennifer and to schedule a complimentary Discovery Session click here.