“Looking at you…it hurts.”
“You shouldn’t look then.”
- The Wire, Season 3
There’s a few things I’d like to say, to all those children out there in the world. From the newborn babies to rebellious teens, from my fellow adults in the prime of their lives, all the way up to the elderly folks taking care of their even-more-elderly parents. To all of you who will be spending Mother’s Day with your mothers (and grandmothers) this year, let me say this: FUCK YOU, AND I HATE YOUR FUCKING GUTS.
To all of you out there who get to interact with their mother on this celebration of all things motherhood, this annual reminder that moms are underappreciated and deserve all the love, glory, and adoration they don’t receive the other 364 days of the year. Those of you that will text, or call (‘cause moms be old and using their phones as phones, amiright? So I hear…), or email, or Facetime with your mothers today, or tomorrow, or anytime this week to plan and coordinate a gathering for Sunday. All of you out there that will be doing whatever it is the matriarch of your family so desires this coming weekend: FUCK YOU AND GO FUCK YOURSELF.
Those of you out there that feel obligated to see your mom to appease her, because she’s so annoying and intrusive and overbearing with her love and affection. Those of you who wish your mother would back off just a bit, give you some breathing room to live your life, and pull back on what she needs and wants from your relationship. Everyone in the world who can willingly choose to ignore their mums because they don’t have the energy or the patience for that right now, because your mother can be, just, A LOT sometimes and you can’t deal. Everyone out there who gets to pick and choose how much of a relationship they have with their mom because cancer’s cruel crusade hasn’t taken down your materfamilias: FUCK YOU.
To everyone who can reach out and make plans any old time of the year, not just when you feel pressured by society and Hallmark, but any weekend at any time. All of you out there who still have that maternal figure in their lives that is ALWAYS there for you, who is ALWAYS available to talk, or will ALWAYS squeeze you with all her might to show you just how loved you are. All of you that have that confidant around, that close kinship you’ve had since birth, that are able to keep alive that unbreakable attachment that only grows stronger over time as we age and evolve: FUCK. YOU.
For all of you that don’t have to struggle to remember what she sounded like, how her voice rose and fell with her joys, excitements, and letdowns. Everyone that remembers exactly how their mother moves, how her smile glows, and her warm, loving eyes can melt away all the terribleness happening in your life around you. Anyone that doesn’t have to rack their brain to remind themselves how her laughter invoked abundant delight from anyone within earshot, or how her mere presence could brighten any room she entered (whether she believed that to be true about herself or not). Anyone that can jog their memory about how it sounds to hear their mom say the words, “I love you,” and mean it like no other person on the planet ever could…
It just kills me, just a little bit, every time I see people have what I can never, ever experience again. It’s so brutally agonizing to see you all out there with what I want most in the world, to yearn so deeply for what is gone from my life forever. The more time passes between now and her death, the more the pain of her final exit dulls. But the farther we get from that date means the harder it gets to preserve her true memory in my mind, and I’m stuck. Stuck not just with preserving her memory so she, the person, is never forgotten, but between what memories stay distinguished in my mind. A new torment has grown, as an unceasing battle endures between those thoughts of who my mother truly was, before that horrid disease took over her body and worked it’s black magic, and who she became in those final few months. When she was dying, in constant pain, with thinning hair that appalled her and a lacking lust for life as death encroached — it’s nigh impossible to shake those recollections and visions from prominence.
I don’t hate anyone, not really, not beyond that surface-level pain and anguish that creeps forth when I see the innumerable social media posts from all those mothers out there about their children (Patty Biggar Swierk would be ALL OVER Facebook, to an undoubtedly embarrassing degree). I don’t wish any ill will, not really, towards anyone out there. No one is living their life, or relating to their still living parents, while laughing and pointing at me, “Ha ha, your mom’s dead!” Although my then 4-year old cousin did, in fact, point, laugh and say those exact words to me on the night of my mom’s passing. As noted, she was four, and I chuckled because she didn’t realize how awful what she was saying was, but I promised her at that moment that, one day, I’d tell this story and make her feel bad. So here you go, Callie! You know I still love you.
It’s just sheer jealousy, folks, and that bitter taste is one I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to wash away. Because I really, REALLY miss my mom. I miss her every second, of every day, miss everything I can vividly remember about her, and every small detail I’ve tragically lost track of through the years. I’ll never stop missing her, and I’ll never stop wishing she was still with us. And to those of you I may have offended in any way with this essay, let me just say I’m not sorry. My feelings and my emotions are my feelings and emotions, and I won’t apologize for them. If you feel like I was too harsh, or unfair towards those who’ve never had to (knock on wood), well, guess what? Go cry to your mama about it.