In the past Mother's Day has been a difficult time for me because I
grew up in a home with a mother who often had severe mental and emotional
problems. Even during her good times, I was afraid of her since I never
knew when she would be ill again, and I knew that somehow it was my
It took years for me to understand and accept her condition, to discover
who she really was, forgive her for what she couldn't control, and reconnect
my love for her. Since her death in 1984, Mother's Day and her birthday
were a time of remembrance and mourning for me. Our media glamorizes
mother-daughter bonds often without acknowledging or supporting the
difficulties many of us had with our caregivers.
Soon after my mother's death as I grieved her loss, I wished for a
different outcome, a different mother, and in addition my confusion
made me wonder what I could have done differently, what I could have
done better. If I could only have another opportunity to see her, I
Then when I learned to meditate in 1985, I found a way to reconnect
with her. Visualizing my mother's presence, I talked to her and listened
for her reply. For instance, nine months after her death when my grief
was overwhelming me, I meditated and she came to me. After thanking
me for all I had done for her, she gave me her blessings and told me
to go live my life. My release was instantaneous and lasting.
My career as a mother has had its own thorns. I raised two sons, mostly
by myself, who are loving and caring men, but when they left home, I
was no longer a priority in their life. Mother's Day came and I received
no card, no phone call, no remembrance. One of my friends told me I
had not instilled enough GUILT into my children since they didn't feel
obliged to send me anything. "If that's the case, I guess I should rejoice,"
I responded, "since I want them to remember me because of love, not
duty." But of course, I had other interpretations of why my children
hadn't written. My grief and distress triggered my own ambivalent feelings
toward my mother, and again I couldn't wait for Mother's Day to be over.
Shortly after that I decided to stop taking my sons' actions personally
and resolved not to put my happiness into other people's hands. The
next year I began celebrating Mother's Day in my own way, buying flowers
for myself or taking myself to a special event in honor of all I had
done for my children. I felt empowered on Mother's Day.
Time passed and things changed. Now that my sons are older, they often
send their cards to me BEFORE Mother's Day instead of a week late.
Recently I took another step in celebration of Mother's Day by focusing
upon my relationship with Mother Earth. Away from the media which exhorts
us to show our love by buying things, I gather with family and friends
in a park, forest, or ocean beach where we collect bottles, cans, paper,
and other garbage in order to make the earth more beautiful. As I bend
down, I feel the wind in my hair, the rain on my face (or if I'm lucky,
the sun), smell the new growth of plants, flowers, and trees, hear the
call of the birds, and experience the beauty that surrounds me.
After an hour or more of collecting, we gather for a potluck lunch
with prayer and thanksgiving. During these times, I am in the moment
and find peace and joy while venerating the true Mother of all species.
Carol Merrick welcomes your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org
or 13376 Chelsea Loop, Tigard, OR 97223.