By Kellie Julia
Within days of my sons passing I literally sat up in bed in the middle of the night with a feeling of terror…. HOLIDAYS! I gently poked my husband and whispered “What about holidays” His groggy reply was; “Kel, we will do whatever you want to do” and I found that comforting enough to catch my breath and try to sleep. You do not understand the need to feel “in control” until everything seems out of yours.
Holidays, whether they entail a barbecue and sparklers or a tree and gifts are something that will always be different now. The first holiday came too soon after my son was gone. Easter. At that point in this journey my thought towards fuzzy bunnies, cute little chicks, painted eggs and ham was~ “Fuck you fuzzy bunnies, cute little chicks, painted eggs and ham. FUCK YOU!” My son loved Easter candy, even those chemically produced yucky marshmallow pillows of gunk called Peeps, those fake yolk sticky sweet chocolate Cadbury eggs, those brightly colored sugar beans passed off as “bunny poop”. He loved ham too and I hated Easter this year.
Then came Mother’s Day. I started fretting about Mother’s Day weeks before it even happened. How odd it is to dread a day that literally celebrates life. Without Mother’s the human race would become extinct. I have a mother, a mother in law and a step mother in law. I am a mother and have a beautiful child still here with me. But thoughts of the child that is not here far over shadowed everything else.
As the day grew closer I grew more anxious, should we just skip it and go on like it is just another day? Is that fair to our mothers? Is that fair to my daughter? You all know that if you want to go out to dinner on Mother’s Day all restaurants are booked weeks in advance. I still wasn’t even thinking hours in advance at that time so needless to say booking 5 star dinner reservations didn’t happen. But a few things did happen that made Mothers Day something other than a day of dread.
A couple days before that Sunday, one of my sons closest friends came into my house; shaky, teary and with something to show me. While walking in one her favorite spots she came across some graffiti. She herself had painted a flower and peace sign in this spot years ago but what was there now gave me a priceless gift. A huge Happy Mothers Day tagged by my son. I was speechless, overwhelmed, in awe. This discovery made me realize that people who have passed on are never truly gone, there are signs everywhere. Sometimes literal signs!
Then came Sunday, I had found a tiny country place that would take reservations for all of us that afternoon but I still hadn’t purchased a gift nor even a card for “the mothers.” Not a big surprise as some days I was actually proud of myself for just brushing my teeth let alone leaving the house. Sad, but true.
So off to the store I went, (brushed teeth and all). I quickly found thoughtful gifts and as I pulled out of the parking lot I saw an older gentleman. He was obviously homeless, it was raining, cold and he outwardly looked the way I felt on the inside. Deflated. I drove down the road and was almost on the highway when I turned back. His name was Paulie.
I picked Paulie up and took him to the grocery store, in the few minutes that we were together he told me a lot about himself and asked me many questions. The most important to him seemed to be “Why did you pick me up”? I explained, “Well you looked cold and sad and it’s Mothers Day and my son recently died so I am feeling a little cold and sad too”. We both cried. After he made his purchases in the store and a quick drive thru for coffee, I dropped him off. As I drove away I thought about him being someone’s son. I hoped that my son felt compassion from strangers at times during his short life and maybe my small act of kindness gave Paulie comfort if only for a day.
At 3 o’clock we all headed to our special Mother’s Day buffet which turned out to be an odd assortment of foods that did not seem to compliment each other, dirty utensils and a 30 minute wait for drinks. Everyone found this pretty humorous which was great because as it turns out laughter really IS the best medicine!
As the day came to a close my daughter posted my last Mother’s Day miracle…..
“From petting cheetahs and traveling the world together to the more simple things like late night movies and lunch dates, I know I have a forever best friend in you. Happy Mother’s Day to the most strong and beautiful woman I will ever know.”
This post changed my perspective of the year’s pending holidays from feeling the pain of the ominous empty chair at our table to realizing that the other chairs will still be filled with love.
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