I remember growing up going to those boutiques my elementary school held every year for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and Christmas. Every year I would buy my mom a gift and felt so happy to give her a little keychain that read “World’s Best Mom.”
As I got older and she got worse symptoms of Huntington’s Disease, it got harder and harder for me to pick out gifts. It’s the little things that hurt the most and you may be thinking what in the world does this have to do with Huntington’s Disease. Here is the connection. As my mom got worse she developed this super strength, and this strength made her break EVERYTHING. Along with that her chorea(movements) stopped her for doing a lot. So as a child and teenager (11+) I struggled to find my mom a gift that she wouldn’t break or be annoyed to have and it was hard to find something she could actually use. This meant no jewelry of any sort because it would either be broken or annoy her with it sitting on her ears, finger, neck etc., no keychains because she no longer had a car, no cutesy items you could find in Target because they’d break or not be used. Just anything you could think of besides cards, candy and flowers, I couldn’t purchase for her. For a while it bothered me because as we got older people my age would be getting their mothers extravagant gifts that they knew their mothers would LOVE and I had to settle for a handwritten card and some candy every year. All I ever wanted to do was shower her with gifts like a new knife set to cook with, a baking package, just something different and better.
I realized after a while that the gifts aren’t what really matters. What really mattered was the time I was able to spend with her. I started to get creative with gifts. Customized shirts, pajama pants, blankets, slippers, special bottles with straws. You know, not extravagant items, but useful to a mother who is also suffering from HD. I found gifts that I was proud and happy to give her and she was happy to receive! (Yes, she still always got her sweets, one year she got Baked By Melissa cupcakes shipped to her!) That was the struggle of Mother’s Day THEN. Now it’s a whole different story.
Mother’s Day for me now is a day of reflection. Sometimes throughout the day it hurts to know that I don’t have someone to shower with gifts, time and “I love yous” but I know that she knows I celebrate her spirit. This day I now spend with one of my close friends who also lost her mother. We have made a tradition out of it now. We bond over the fact that our mom’s are not with us but we keep the day positive. We go out to eat, talk about our memories, this year we are releasing balloons and lighting candles to honor and commemorate our strong, loving mothers. The one emotion that will never go away for me and I would assume many others that have lost parents, is jealousy. Seeing all the posts that day, seeing everyone out celebrating with their moms, sharing laughs and hugs and kisses, that will always be something that I see that gets me upset. To know that those experiences I will never have again. Especially because I don’t even have grandmothers here on this Earth to share my love with on this day. But I try not to let it bring me down!
But if there is one thing I do know, it is that I will always have a mother. Death doesn’t take away that role from her. So as I learn how to deal with holidays, as my journey without my mom goes on, I will learn how to love, honor and remember my mom in different ways, in positive ways.
Happy Mother’s Day to all Moms, Grandmothers, and Aunts that are here with us, and those who aren’t with us physically anymore. Sending love to anyone who needs it during this time!