This year, mother’s day was hard. Like, really hard. I thought I had prepared for it with the butterfly release on Saturday. It was definitely great to connect with so many other women who had lost their mothers. I made a few friends that I intend to keep in touch with. It was really a very special day. I have some photos here from the Motherless Daughters Butterfly Release for you to check out.
But that was Saturday.
Saturday evening I realized that not a lot of people can actually understand what this feels like – to not have a mother and then to not have a mother on mother’s day. It’s like the entire world around you is doing something you can not participate in at all. Even if they don’t have good relationships with their mothers, they still have that connection. That solid connection of the fact that this person raised you and will love you no matter what.
I don’t cry often, but I cried a lot on Saturday night. The waves of pain were so intense I could not stop! I just kept feeling so empty inside. Something really, really big is missing. Like, really big and I have no idea sometimes how to fill that void. Not even a butterfly release was going to save me from the pain of missing my mom.
Mother’s day is: everywhere around you, you see and hear the world MOTHER everywhere you go. It’s like a broken record on repeat that you can’t turn off.
I really wanted to visit Catherine’s mom for brunch, but I could not get myself out of bed and ended up crying for most of the morning. An IMPORTANT FACT: I was also sleep deprived. Over 4 days I probably got about 12 hours sleep so the exhaustion factor was severe. And that intensified this painful experience that I was having.
A noted 2002 University of California animal study indicated that non-rapid eye movement sleep (NREM) is necessary for turning off neurotransmitters and allowing their receptors to “rest” and regain sensitivity which allows monoamines (norepinephrine, serotonin and histamine) to be effective at naturally-produced levels. – Wikipedia
I’m pretty convinced that if I had had plenty of sleep the nights leading up to Mother’s Day, I don’t think this day would have been as emotionally painful. I would have been able to handle it differently but I did not have the right levels of serotonin to help me, because I had lost so much sleep. I DO THINK no matter what, it was going to suck for a lack of better words. But I would have been better prepared.
I wondered if going on vacation for mother’s day might have been a better solution… I could take myself away on a little trip somewhere that I love and have a great time. My friend Polly did that once for Father’s Day. She went to Bermuda for the weekend. I love that idea.
I did visit my mom’s grave. I wrote her a card and a little note on wooden stars. I left it there on her grave. Seeing her name in stone is still weird to me. My dad is buried in Florida, so I don’t get to visit him much. It’s not even like I’m visiting them. I’m visiting the shell they lived in. I do believe they are around me somewhere. Another post about that later.
Something that I always feel every year, and maybe this is just me, but it’s like I’ve always been a mover and a shifter. I’m always the first person in my family to do something no one else has done and it’s usually socially related. I think I’m the only out & gay person on both my mother’s side and father’s side (Catherine and I were chosen as one of Go Magazine’s 2011 Captivating Couples). I’ve been highlighted in magazines for my organizational work for a benefit party I created for the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival ( “The Very Best of NYC Music”, Go Magazine February 2011, “We Were There” Time Out New York, April 2010,“MichMosh” Time Out New York February 2008 ), that’s now spread nation wide (super exciting!!)… and of course… there’s the crappy part — I’m the first person AND the youngest person in my family to lose both of their parents.
So far, no one in my family can really relate. And that’s fine… for some reason, the universe has chosen me to have this experience and I’m supposed to do something with it. I think it involves leading the way in a lot of things, showing how others can deal with grief through art, showing other people who to not judge others and themselves, and above all, show others how to LOVE themselves, which will allow them to love OTHERS… which will also allow them to build STRONG RELATIONSHIPS with others. It doesn’t mean that it doesn’t hurt or that I’m over it. In fact, I’m sure I will never be “over” my parents dying. I have to live with this. This is me figuring out how to do that and you are a witness.
I grew up the only child from my parents marriage. I have a half brother. We keep in touch and I love him a lot, but wish I felt closer to him. I’m used to spending time alone. But mother’s day made me feel like I “should” be doing something.
I did spend time with one, what I call, my “mother figures” – Lori Ingwerson. I have known her since I was 15. She is the mother of my friend Katie. Katie, and her sisters Erin and Layla are like sisters to me. In fact, I have them noted as sisters on my facebook page.
A “mother figure” to me is a person that is not your mom, but has motherly qualities. They can give advice and provde you some kind of love that you may need. They love you unconditionally. They are not responsible for you, but worry and care about you in the capacity that they can. I intend to build up my “mother figures” and my “father figures” so that I can have a collection of them. It will not be like having a mom and a dad, but I hope that it will be less lonely. Because GOD DAMN – it’s lonely not having parents! And then not having a family support system… It’s funny how people treat you differently after your parents die. Totally not my fault, but it’s really interesting how relationships change. I’ll talk about that in another post.
I will soon have a post of all the people who helped me along the way so far. They are very important. I started writing them here in this entry, and then realized this is going to take me awhile. So instead of half-assing it, I will just put it together slowly and with love.
I finally started feeling better on Monday when I opened up the largest canvas I’ve ever worked on. This was given to me on xmas by my girlfriend, Catherine. On it it say “you will sell this painting for $1,000 or more”. Well, it’s funny you say that because I am very intersted in doing that!
I usually paint in color but I found myself really wanting to work with black. It was very much how I was feeling. The more I stroked my brush on the canvas, the better I started to feel. It’s really magical to be able to move through emotions using something physical in front of you.
Catherine put a great quote on my facebook wall yesterday:
“Painting is just another way of keeping a diary.”
I will have to do some prep for fathers day… #1 Is get plenty of SLEEP!!! If you have father’s day prep thoughts/ideas please share them.