March is not my favourite month. It used to host two birthdays – mother and grandmother – and has Mothering Sunday, or Mothers’ Day, in it. My grandmother left us a very long time ago so the pain has subsided but not gone. Mum’s birthday, which has just gone, is more difficult. My dear sister, who feels the same way, wondered why her birthday is so much more difficult to get through than the date of mum’s passing. I think I know.
Once a year, we are reminded that a very special person is no longer with us and that this is the date she left. However, that is relatively recent in terms of our whole lives. Birthdays were another thing. From the moment that we were able to understand, we were making or buying cards and presents to give to her. Every year was a renewed flurry of finding a suitable card and a new way to surprise her with a gift; whether it was adorning her with a pair of earrings in her preferred marcasite or taking her out for a meal at her favourite eatery, it would always give us as much pleasure as it gave her. Years and years of that are very difficult to brush away along with the tears.
Mothers’ Day is as bad, in its own way. There is so much advertising that it’s hard to turn a corner without seeing some ad that is encouraging you to buy chocolates, flowers or some other token that you should have been thinking about all year, if she matters that much to you.
So, after all this time, I have decided to turn my dread of the month into a celebration. This is the last year I will look at the Mothers’ Day cards and wish I had someone to send one to. It’s the last year I will crawl up to her birthday and hold my breath until it’s passed. It’s the last year I will wallow in the question of why she’s no longer here. Instead I will take the opportunity to focus on the best she represented; love, family, good values and strength, all of which she helped to instil in us, and which we have now (hopefully) instilled in our own families. It has to be better that way.