This Mother’s Day was different from any of the 40+ Mother’s Days that came before it. This is not to say it was a ‘good’ day or ‘bad’ day. Nor am I saying I enjoyed it more or less than any of the celebrations that came before. One of the first things that was brought up in Life Coach Training was the notion ‘life just is’ and removing the judgement of good or bad allows us to experience life in a new and incredible way.
So, this year I simply experienced Mother’s Day. Some of the experiences were filled with laughter, some filled with tears. I felt each one. I gave each one my attention and opened up to what I could experience.
A substantial experience has been mounting since mid-Winter. I’ve been aware and choosing to keep it to myself since then. This past winter was rich in struggle, illness and sorrow. So, at first glance it wasn’t surprising when I became upset while browsing the Mother’s Day cards in Hallmark. It was time to face the music. I was angry. I was holding a card I meant to send to a friend. It was a silly card and I intended to write a note of thanks for her love and support these past five months. When the sorrows and struggles started to take shape she was there to offer support – texts that were encouraging, caring and prayerful. She made a very difficult time more bearable, even when all she texted was ‘thinking of you – hope all is well today.’ Seriously, those 8 words changed my outlook more times that she knows. They meant more than she can realize.
I simply couldn’t hold back the hurt and sadness anymore. The truth is I spent a lot of time this winter feeling hurt and sad. Then I spent more time justifying the actions and words or lack there of that caused my saddness to deepen. So many times a friend would end a conversation before they even asked how I was doing. They had called to vent, to complain, to whine, to pick my brain. They called to make plans as though my life wasn’t in turmoil and was perfectly normal. I’d brush things off. I’m tell myself they were busy. They’d forgot. But every conversation that followed this pattern increased the hurt and frustrations grew.
Until that fateful late April day I was standing in front of a rack of cards and I couldn’t out run the tears anymore. My cousin had, quite simply taught me how important it is to keep saying ‘I’m thinking of you’ even after the first blushes of sadness and sorrow have passed. Because the first blush is gone and it’s easy to think all is well. It is not. People are still knee-deep in the trauma or the aftermath of trauma- and that plainly, sucks. She also taught me that ‘I’m busy” is a tired, worn out excuse. Truth is when friends needed me, my advice, to listen to vent to, they had time to call. They had time to send jokes. Time to post on Facebook and Instagram and write blog posts. In more than one case there was time to answer my phone calls, but, not enough time to remain on the line after they said what they wanted or needed to say – even though I had placed the all.
I understand that some people may read this and chalk me up to being a whiner. They may say or think or feel that I’m being overly emotional – over reacting. That’s fair – those feelings belong to them and they are valid.
I was able to learn a lesson and I’m sharing that hoping readers will see themselves in some way and know they are not alone. I’m hoping this gives people who might want to call but not know what to say the courage to call or text or email. I’m hoping it’s a reminder to take stock of a conversation and ask the other person how they are.
As for my cousin, well I’m awed by her and thankful beyond measure to know her. Simply put she is one of the best people I know and also the busiest person I have ever met. She put a new perspective on family, on loyalty, on friendship and on love and I’m not sure I will every be able to express my gratitude.
What I do know is that finding a card to say thank you for keeping me sane meant so much it completely shifted my perspective and that shift is the moral of this blog post.
Her love and support helped me come to terms that with my tears. I was hurt and saddened by all the friends who couldn’t be bothered to ask how I was? Ask how my Mom was? It hurt so deeply that I can no longer deny that it redefined the boundaries of my relationships. Busy is no longer accepted here. Forgetting to ask how someone’s sick relative is while you’re spewing about your job, your boyfriend, your husband… well those slights hurt and they are no longer being overlooked.
I may lose friends over this post. I’m ok with that. It will give me more time to be fully present within the relationships that are of equal and honored value.