Tools for a Holiday

photo by Wayne Klaw

photo by Wayne Klaw

As I write this, it’s Sunday night. Mother’s Day night — the first without mine. I spent this day in utter abandon to my own care.

I did my usual Sunday morning routine: walked the dog, picked up coffee from my wife at the café, showered, meditated, wrote for a bit, answered work emails…

I dressed in something nice, wore my Gram’s necklace, tucked in my shirt. I put a stone in each coat pocket — gifts from a fellow motherless daughter — Apache Tear for healing grief, protection and grounding, Rose Quartz for comforting and deep inner peace. My partner, M, and I walked to a small bookstore where I picked up Elizabeth Alexander’s The Light of the World before we headed to an unusual Mother’s Day Brunch.

THIS WAS A SPECIAL brunch. Each guest in attendance had lost their mother — some through death, others through an unrecoverable severed relationship. The hostess, G, has a beautiful vision to reclaim a painful holiday and use it to share our stories, photographs, grief…the marks of our scar tissue. G is building a tradition: we bear witness to one another’s growing lives — the things our mothers are missing. The brunch is in its third year and I am the newbie.

Motherless Day Brunch had a spread of homemade savory brioche, deviled eggs, biscuits, piles of bagels with spreads, smoked salmon, inherited decorative plates, bowls, silverware, coffee. The makings of intimacy. We milled around introducing ourselves and telling a little of our story, laughing much more than one might expect from a congregation of this commonality.

WE SETTLED INTO OUR seats around the room and one by one shared a bit about where we were in our process, a memory of our mother, the tale of how we were separated from her. The honesty in the room made speaking about my loss manageable. No one in this crew was pretending their mother was perfect.We spoke about the flawed creatures that gave us life. That truthfulness meant I could grieve on a plane of reality.  

photo by Wayne Klaw

photo by Wayne Klaw

I FELT GOOD and didn’t feel guilty about feeling good. New territory that I spent the day tasting because I honored my human, imperfect Mom outwardly,safely. Connecting on our grief.

I spent the evening alone walking in the sun through the Prospect Park thinking about my mother. Being with her by exercising my memory of her details. The night ended with a therapy phone session (a just-in-case I planned for the holiday).

The day was a skillful framework for deep support. I am sharing the experience to say this: I found a plan for my day that held the conflicting truths of my deep sorrow and my connected beautiful life. I felt held in love because I set the day up to be love-filled. My luck and gratitude for friends like G, who host inspired and healing events is bottomless. If you need this too, perhaps you can be the fire starter.