We are honoured to share this contribution from fellow urbanmoms.ca member, Annabelle. Annabelle wrote this letter to Kath, in response to her post A Word of Thanks (And a Few of Advice). It is with thanks to Annabelle that we share it with you now:
My mom died nearly five years ago now. It sucked. It was awful. It still sucks. It still is awful. Still, after five years, I am wishing my mom was alive, even in hospital, just so I can smell her skin. So smell your mother’s skin. Hold her. Close your eyes and inhale deeply. I am so grateful that I did that, especially as she was dying. There is no other scent like your mama. I know there is a study somewhere where blindfolded moms were able to find their infants in a crowd of babes. Well no one ever mentioned how WE can always sniff out our mommies. In the moments, hours, days after she died, I could bring that scent to my mind and feel her with me. I can honestly still do it now.
Don’t fret over the bad advice, the pathetic friends, the friends you thought were great and got all freaky on you at the mention of the “C” word. Really, it is a waste of your time,your good energy, and lets face it, as you said, we have ALL probably said something “not so comforting” to someone who really just needed us to shut up and hug them. I had friends who came out of the woodwork with meals and vino, and I had my closest friend all but disappear because she “couldn’t handle it”.
But we have to forgive and recognize the humanity of it all. We are all different. Even though we were all born and we will all die, we really don’t always cope very well with these two momentous occasions! Pretty crazy, huh? I hated being a mom without a mom. It still is terrible. Maybe it is something we need to do alone. Cope with sick loved ones and lost loved ones (I hate calling her “lost”. Who gets LOST in this day and age??)
One good friend whose husband had died told me, quite honestly, that it would take me FIVE years to breathe deeply, to say her name without tearing up, to look at her picture and not feel a knife in my chest. Well, the five year anniversary is coming up and I am waiting. What was that movie? Waiting to Exhale? I am waiting to INHALE. To finally be able to take it all in again with untarnished joy. I have had so many reasons to be totally happy and grateful since she died. I have had two more kids to add to my two. The day after she died I found out I was pregnant with baby #3 and I saw him as a gift from her. A gift to keep me eating and taking care of myself when I just wanted to die with her. Then, three years later, I found myself in labour, at ten minutes to midnight, with my fourth baby boy. I tried so hard to get him out before midnight. After midnight meant he would share his birth day with her death day anniversary. I hated that. I tried. My midwives were shocked at my focus and determination and had no clue what my motivation was. But, then I let go. I just let him come at his own time. And he was born ten minutes after midnight. My mom’s way of making me stop going to the cemetery on that day and instead plan a party. Her way of making me write “Birthday” on that day in the calendar, instead of “worst day in the history of days!!”
What it all comes down to is YOU and your mother. You were alone (unless you are a twin…) with her in the womb and, even if husbands, midwives, surgeons are there… we are just really alone with our mommies when we are being born. And our mommies are just with us.
This was good therapy for me. I thank you for listening, for reading.
And don’t forget, inhale that mommy scent.