Dead Man Talking – Just In Time For Mother’s Day
The past couple of weeks my unease about Mother’s Day has been increasing as I have searched for a way to connect with the upcoming event despite my allergy to all things pink & fluffy. The conversations I’ve had with other mothers prove that I’m not alone in feeling that the day paints a distorted picture of what motherhood actually entails. The majority of mothers would happily overlook flowers and wrapped presents for someone to stop and acknowledge the work they have put in from the moment their body pulsed with the first contraction.
Motherhood is not an easy gig, especially for those of us doing it without a partner by our side. I am fully aware that there are definitely some benefits, but the workload and responsibility is double and there is no way to paint that with a silver lining.
With one more sleep until Mother’s Day I assumed that I had run out of time to tap into any feel good vibes about this clumsy holiday that seems to trample on those with a mother shaped hole in their heart.
However, I was pleasantly surprised to run into a new friend of mine today who also has been solo parenting for a long time. We are both busy women and it’s rare that we get a chance to connect. I haven’t seen her since the father of her two daughters passed away a few weeks ago. After an extended hug she told me what had happened yesterday. An unexpected knock on the door revealed a beautiful bunch of flowers delivered from a local florist with a card attached. Confused about who would send her flowers for the occasion she opened the card to realise that it was the father of the two daughters who had sent them to her.
Like me, this mother had assumed that the father of her babies would remain by her side as the milestones passed. Like me, she had gone through years of raising her daughters on her own. In the same way she had automatically reached for her partner’s hand and placed it on her growing belly to feel their baby’s kick deep inside her, she would continue to automatically reach for him as the children continued to grow, to share the sweet moments and to bear witness to the challenges, only to remember that he was no longer there. Like me, my friend hadn’t been enough to keep her husband away from a soul destroying addiction and in the process he had lost his wife and children.
The man who she had dreamed about growing old together with, the man who she would lean into on cold nights, had now become her antagonist. Hateful words and fiery threats were the only echoes that remained of the love they used to have. Eventually the harsh years overtook the time they had spend together as a couple with a shared vision and it was hard to remember that a long time ago she had in fact deeply loved this man, and he had loved her.
Yet here, on a wet and windy Friday morning, a beautiful bunch of flowers arrived, with a card spelling out what an amazing mother she had been to their daughters. The years of conflict melted away in a moment as she read his words of gratitude.
How a man on his death bed, his body worn down after fighting a cruel disease, was able to create the energy to contact a florist and request a bouquet of flowers and dictate words from his heart to be transcribed onto a card, is beyond me. I can only imagine that he was so desperate to right a wrong, and to make sure that their story that had stretched over nearly three decades, ended the way it began, with love.
This beautiful story has given me what I was looking for, a way to look at Mother’s Day with a fresh perspective. I still don’t believe it’s about flowers and presents, however, Mother’s Day creates an opportunity for us to reach out to those that we want to acknowledge. To let them know that we see them. That we notice their hard work. Of course we can do it any day of the year, and in a rose coloured world that’s what happens. But for those that struggle with putting words to their feelings and for those that are trapped inside old patterns that keep them isolated and mute, Mother’s Day creates an opportunity that one would be foolish to miss.
For my friend’s ex husband it took until his death bed to realise, but when he did, he made that call, knowing full well that he wouldn’t be around for the thank you. And that’s the most beautiful part of the story.