As I was reading through my Facebook feed this morning the sense of overwhelming sadness that had been building all week engulfed me completely. For days posts had been coming up that offer validation of all the complex emotions that surround Mother’s Day. Then today, of course, all the personal messages to mothers of all kinds. And while I appreciate the sensitivity, compassion, and empathy of the authors of so many of the posts that I have read, the fact that nearly everyone has to contribute something – including me while writing this post – just leaves me feeling indescribably overwhelmed and numb. Mother’s Day is one of those days you cannot escape, as much as you might want that. Everywhere you look, it’s just there. Staring you in the face, demanding a response. From you.
Our boys didn’t have just one mom. They had two. One is dead. Wen is dead. The other is still alive. I am still alive. And yet, our boys have “lost” not just one mom but two. They are grieving not just the “loss” of one mom but two. For the truth is that the day Wen died, the person who I used to be died with her.
Mothers’ Day – apostrophe ‘s’.
How do you “celebrate” a Mothers’ Day with this kind of double loss and yet, one mom, is still there?
In a heterosexual family when the mother dies, on Mother’s Day the children can grieve and commemorate her without having to “celebrate” another parent. In our family that is different. At the same time as Mothers’ Day is a day when the boys and I intensely miss and grieve Wen (as mom), we can’t completely escape the ‘happy mother’s day’ wishes extended towards me (also as mom).
Death placing my mom-self in inescapable tension with Wen’s mom-self. Even this post putting me in a double-bind; for shouldn’t I write about Wen (as mom) instead of writing about me? But then, I am mom, too. Do you see what I mean?
So, I will close this post by writing:
To my beloved Wen,
You know how much we love and miss you. Not a day goes by when I don’t think and feel these words with every cell of my body.
Once you were told, you would never be a mom. Could not never be a good mom. Because you were a lesbian. I know how deeply this hurt your soul. And how wrong that hurtful assumption would turn out to be.
When you and I fell in love, you immediately became a mom to our boys. No doubts. No hesitations. From the first moment you and the boys embraced each other lovingly. Together we formed our family founded on the strength of our love. We stood by each other through good and bad.
We are family and always will be.