The other day my husband and I were having a discussion about Mother's Day. Since about this time last month, advertisements for the upcoming holiday have been everywhere. The first one I received was an e-mail proclaiming "Mother's Day is coming!" from a website intent on selling me things.
"I don't know what I'm going to do" I told him, as I sat on our bed next to him. He was rubbing my back as he often does, when he knows that I need comforting. "I kind of just want to crawl into a hole until the day is over and done with." He said that I should still celebrate the day. That I should still do the things I did for her, but to do them for myself this year instead.
My mother's favorite flowers were daisies. Every morning on Mother's Day, before everyone else woke up, I would sneak out of the house and into the back yard to pick some of the wild ones that grew everywhere. Daisies are abundant here in Kentucky. In spring and summer they sweep down the hillsides and fill the ditches with a profusion of white and yellow. They beg to be picked, and they grow so thickly that you can pick dozens of them without making a dent in their numbers. I would gather as many as I could and then tie them with whatever bit of ribbon I'd fished out of my stash of craft supplies, and would present them to her when she woke up. Sometimes I would make her a cup of coffee, except one year I mistook the salt for sugar and she banned me from making it after that.
The daisies weren't always blooming by Mother's Day. Sometimes the way the day falls it's just a little bit too early for them. Their heavy buds would be nodding on their stems, not ready to open for another week. Lately it seems that they've been blooming later and later in the year, so for the past few years I've simply gone to Lowe's and bought her a potted Shasta Daisy to plant. This year I had thought that if the daisies bloomed in time I'd pick her a bunch of them again, but of course she didn't live long enough for that. Spring has come to Kentucky, bringing with it warmth and sunlight and the whole world turning green and full of life. I hate that she died in winter, during one of the worst ones we've had in a while. Her last few months she spent miserably cold because she had lost so much weight that she couldn't sustain her own body heat. She was wrapped in robes and blankets and she kept the heat turned up so high that her electric bills were outrageous. I wanted so badly for her to make it until Spring, so that she could see the sun and feel the warmth of the air one more time.
Mom died exactly a week to the day before her birthday. She died the day before my sister's birthday. Firsts are hard. Having to deal with those particular firsts so soon after the fact was surreal. I was still shocked and numb by then, and both birthdays went by in that haze. With Mother's Day, there has been time for the shock to wear off. The numbness to pass. I feel a sense of rising panic with every e-mail or TV advertisement that I see for it. All I want to do is pick daisies for her. Make her coffee (with sugar, very carefully avoiding the salt). I want to go to Hallmark and find the perfect card to give her, signing it with Xs and Os. It's strange to realize I'll never do that again.
I want her to see the profusion of daisies in the ditches and the fields and I want to hear her say how they're her favorite. Just one last time.