The 1st day of May. May Day. Mayday. M’aidez. Help me.
My mother left this world on the 1st of May. I felt like a single engine plane, shot out of the sky. “Mayday Mayday Mayday” Isn’t that what they cry over the radio when the hard earth is rushing up at them, smoke streaming out behind, their lives in the balance? Help me! I’m going down.
Down I went.
Eight years ago today… and tomorrow… and uncounted days after. But hitting the ground didn’t kill me. Others did come to my aid. I carried on. With aching voids and “I’ll just call her… no,” and precious moments in my dreams when we met again, I carried on.
Now life has changed so much that I have few spaces left which she occupied. There are memories, and habits, and stories I love to tell. So much of her is in my heart and spirit that will never be lost, but she was never here, where I am now.
Mother’s Day is coming soon. By happy coincidence, I will spend it with one of my long time best friends. Her mother left this world even before mine. I think it might have been May. It’s a hard time for us and I am glad we will be together. Even as I was taking consolation against the Hallmark onslaught of forced sentimentality, I remembered: she is a mother now herself. Two boys will celebrate their Mother’s Day, too young to understand that the grandmother they never knew was her own Mother, that there will be an emptiness in her day. And mine.
But we are the grown-ups now. That is the way of life on earth. We keep who we’ve been, our innocent selves, safely inside where the world cannot see. We wear the strong shells of responsibility and independence. We continue to build our lives, and for those who follow. We carry on.