Oh, Those Moms

Mother’s Day was a lovely one this year, as my darlings showered me with love in so many ways. Mother Nature joined in, offering brilliant sunshine and balmy breezes, no showering whatsoever.

But the day has a bittersweet component, as my mother died six years ago on Mother’s Day. Let me quickly add that it seemed right that she would slip away that particular morning. I was on my way to see her in hospice, her battle with colon cancer soon to conclude. By the time I arrived, she was gone. It seemed my feisty mom had made a statement, and that tickled my fancy a tad. She sure had been known to make statements during her many years on this Earth.

To add to the irony, she was born on Friday, May 13. We buried her on Friday, May 13 — another beautiful Spring day. I’m fully aware that another Friday, May 13 occurs tomorrow. One wonders what might be in store.

So the week of Mother’s Day has offered a bevy of emotions for several years. This year offered the great joy of celebrating the engagement of eldest daughter and the college graduation of youngest daughter throughout the weekend. My husband and my brother arranged a great big brunch on Sunday morning for the moms. After the extended crew departed, we played games outside and enjoyed my husband’s famous salmon burgers. The weather was beautiful beyond measure, unexpectedly warm enough to spend most of the weekend outside. A sea of tulips and forget-me-nots bloomed happily and prolifically. It was simply a great time.

It wasn’t until the evening that a quick visit to Facebook offered a couple of favorite photos: one of Mom and me when I was little, another of Mom, my girls and me. Someone posted a beautiful saying that has always comforted me:

Your Mother is always with you. She’s the whisper of the leaves as you walk down the street, she’s the smell of certain foods you remember, flowers you pick, the fragrance of life itself.

She’s the cool hand on your brow when you’re not feeling well, she’s your breath in the air on a cold winter’s day. She is the sound of the rain that lulls you to sleep, the colors of a rainbow. Your mother lives inside your laughter.

She’s the place you came from, your first home, and she’s the map you follow with every step you take. She’s your first love, your first friend, even your first enemy, but nothing on earth can separate you. Not time, not space, not even death.

~ unknown

I have strongly felt the presence of my mom on many occasions since she died. The mourning doves mourned in the most fascinating of ways. I have found a single dime in so many places since she died — just one single dime. I keep them in a special heart-shaped bowl. It’s as if she’s checking in and saying hi.

So it was no surprise to receive an unexpected gift this weekend. I found three random trillium in our yard, two popping up by our pond and a third one in the back yard, right next to our beloved beech tree. This one is a beauty, sporting the beginnings of a rich red flower. I pulled out my phone and selected my favorite plant app (called Seek by inaturalist and associated with National Geographic). Much to my amazement, it was a trillium indeed — officially named trillium cuneatum but known as “Little Sweet Betsy.”

Now what’s the chance of that? And who named this particular trillium plant anyway? Interestingly, a red trillium flower symbolizes a mother’s undying love. I shook my head in wonder.

Also in the “you can’t make this stuff up” department, a very interesting tulip emerged this week. My husband, who is half Dutch, has pined for tulips for years. We used to have a nice variety, but they all succumbed to time and the hungry deer. He was bound and determined to plant a new crop, and thoughtfully purchased three different types of tulips, to open at slightly different times. With lots of attention — and Deer Scram — most were kind enough to start opening just in time for our weekend celebrations. The rich shades of pink and purple are simply beautiful.

Imagine my surprise to discover a single red tulip among all of those pink and purple shades. One single bright red tulip — the exact same color as a vase of artificial tulips that we have had since his Dutch mom passed away. I simply couldn’t wait to share the discovery with my husband.

I envision these mothers of ours, giggling wherever they might be, as they play tricks of love on their children. The image makes me smile. While Mother’s Day may feel bittersweet, I do feel cherished — by my loves here on earth and those who wander elsewhere. And one does wonder what Friday, May 13th might bring.

So Happy Mother’s Day to all of the moms and to all of the children of moms. May you all feel as blessed as I do.

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Betsy Hayhow Hemming

Betsy Hayhow Hemming

Betsy Hayhow Hemming is an author and leadership coach. She writes fiction and creative nonfiction. www.betsyhemming.com.