Motherhood | Mothering When You're Motherless

Springtime is here and that means the time of Mother’s Day is upon us. When you have a parent that is deceased, no matter what your relationship was with said parent, certain holidays can bring up various emotions. In recent years, holidays generally inspire a tinge of grief wrapped in a bellowing hug of joy.

Mothering When You’re Motherless…

As many do with their children, we have a daily bedtime ritual. For me, it is really important to me that we close the day together. This ritual, though, happens to be quite different from my personal childhood. I am the last of three children, so maybe my mother just didn’t have time to devote to each child in that way. On the other hand, maybe I was a really self-sufficient child and took to bedtime easily. Whatever the reason, I have not held onto memories of spending time with my mother specifically at bedtime. I think, subconsciously, this created a high importance within me to develop and maintain a routine with my daughter. Throughout her life, nights have at times been a fight. I, an occasional insomniac, birthed a natural night owl. Surprising, right?! We’ve gotten much better but some nights are often filled with sleep-delaying discussions. Who can blame her? Her view of the world is growing everyday. Tons of questions need answers. Mommy should know and provide the answers, no matter what time the clock reads.

My daughter was only 3 years old when our family lost our beloved matriarch. She remembers more of my mother’s memorial planning process and the family’s period of visible grief thereafter than the actual living woman that I so deeply loved. Due to this, it’s important to me to sprinkle nuggets of mother through my actions and words with my daughter and keep her name and legacy alive.

Many of our days consist of one-third cuddles and conversation, one-third sassy one-liners asserting her independence and one-third deep breaths followed by deciding we need a break from each other. I can still hear my mother’s voice reassuring me, “She will get it, Shanna, she will.” This was in response to my woes during potty training. With that brief statement, she calmly comforted my fears of failing at motherhood. Who knew that sentence would continue to reassure me through tantrums, through meltdowns, through shoe-tying, and even currently through a pandemic.

It takes a bit of mental dexterity to observe a day that I know indeed will juxtapose grief, joy and hope. As I prepare to commemorate my third Mother’s Day without the physical presence of my mother, I cling to the pleasant realization that she is, indeed, still mothering me. It is my hope, hell, my mission to leave this imprint on my daughter when I too am gone. I wanted to share this to acknowledge those who may be struggling with their grief, particularly during triggering dates, such as Mother's Day. Cling to her words and let them continue to carry you onward. Raise your children and acknowledge her legacy in your actions and words. There will be days that we must parent in grief and must dig deep for joy and hope. Know that you aren’t alone in this world. You’ve joined a band of sisters and sometimes, as the song says, we all feel like a motherless child. I pray for your continued peace in mind and heart.

Light & Love...

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