It’s funny that every year, you forget what it feels like. The second Sunday of May is ingrained in my head as Mother’s Day. It’s something most of us remember from when we were young and made cards with shitty glitter and flimsy cardboard in school; but those were the cards our mum’s would treasure. So, of course I always know the day is coming.
And every year, I wake up like any normal Sunday and I start to scroll through social media. Every second post and almost every single story is about mum’s. And rightly so. But you forget, every year, the pang you feel. That each year, these people get to celebrate their mum, get an updated photo to share, and get to tell them just how much they love them.
The thing is, over the years it feels like you should feel used to it. Knowing full well that you no longer get to make new memories with your mum, or do little things for her to remind her you love her. You grow older and know this day is hard for many people, from the ones who have lost their mum’s like you, or those who have strained or absent relationships with their own. So you remind yourself you’re not alone, but there’s still pain when all you have is a memory.
It’s the last drop of a discontinued perfume that I’ll never use. I don’t want to lose it. I soak in the smell when I need the comfort of her. It’s the closest thing to remembering what she smelt like. It’s a bottle I know I will keep with me forever and I’m terrified of the day it’s gone. Whether I drop it and it smashes, the smell wafting into the air and escaping. If I have a partner who good-naturedly thinks he’s throwing an old perfume bottle away, and you can’t get mad at him because he was trying to be nice; likely not understanding that that’s one of the few things you have left of her. Because you can have old clothes, photos & memories, but it’s the smell that’s distinct because that’s one of the senses that goes first when losing someone. Maybe one day it will just get lost within moving boxes, or it will simply be misplaced and lost forever.
And these are all hypothetical, but ones that wander through my head often, because I no longer get to make new memories with her. They are stuck where they were then, and even seven years on, it’s hard to know that there won’t be anymore. So I hold on to the ones I have; the clothes, the cards, the messages. The same photos because there will never be anymore; creating art out of those photos in a bid to relive and recreate the same memories we hold on to. The moments I think I hear her laugh in someone else, the nights she visits in my dreams.
She visits my dreams often, but she is always at an arm’s length. My subconscious reminds me, every time, that she’s no longer here so the dream is not real. Not allowing me to immerse in the feeling because I am trying to protect myself from being hurt when I wake up and remember. Time flows freely and suddenly you’re years down the track, but she is still and always will be as young as she was the day she grew her wings. Always a distant but distinct memory. Always at an arm’s length.