How I Find Happiness Through Mother’s Day Sadness
I let out a long “awww” or a slight laugh when I see posts in my social media feed of people sharing photos of their mothers, along with sentimental memories or funny stories. As I continue to scroll, a sad longing begins to overwhelm me. On Mother’s Day – Mother’s Day – I struggle to remember the happy memories I shared with my own mother. It wouldn’t be fair to say there aren’t any, but the few good memories that come to mind are quickly overwhelmed by an influx of negative ones.
I spent the last three Mother’s Days in a cumulus of discouragement that precipitated shame. As the child scapegoat of a narcissistic mother, I decided to no longer have contact with my mother in April 2019. Initially, I had a hard time making this decision, because I thought it better to have a toxic relationship than not to have a relationship at all. . Leaving arguably the most valued relationship in society makes me feel a lot of guilt.
Despite my many attempts at reconciliation and a monumental sacrifice I made that ended up being the catalyst for a severe mental and emotional breakdown, I wanted to hold on. I finally decided to let go after hearing a few words that not only paralyzed my soul but also broke my spirit.
I started dreading Mother’s Day when I struggled to choose an appropriate Hallmark card to add to my planned gift for my mother. There were sentimental words and beautifully written sentences about a mother’s love and care that I couldn’t relate to. Signing a Mother’s Day card with words describing what was a stark contrast to the reality of our relationship, became a performative act to which she responded with effusive thanks. Suiting us up one day out of the year wouldn’t suddenly mend our strained relationship.
This Mother’s Day, I chose not to pretend or let myself be engulfed in a dark cloud of sadness. Instead, I will look back on the fond memories I have of the women in my life who acted as mothers to me in my most vulnerable times – women who graciously allowed their motherly love to spill out and touch me. When I think of how my aunts spoke to me about life through uplifting words, provided me with financial and emotional support in my difficult times, and cared for me as if they were the ones who given birth, I am filled with an overwhelming amount of gratitude. Thanks to them, I too have stories and memories to share today.
Today I will also honor my maternal ancestors who guided the mother in me who helped raise me. I’ll also laugh out loud and shake my head when I think of how many “somebody’s sons” owe me a Hallmark Mother’s Day card for the role I played in raising them. I will smile because I know I will really have a “Happy Mother’s Day”.
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