I used to talk with them and listen to their stories, my friends who were motherless.
I would wonder, how can you continue on? How do you live and work and laugh without her?
With tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat, in my heart I felt intensely lucky to still have my mother’s presence in my life. I would give a silent moment of thanks to still have her.
But other times, I would forget to be grateful.
When I’d talk with my friends, we would complain, rant, or share stories of mild irritation or extreme fatigue. We would wonder, out loud, how to find the time to meet their needs as well as juggling our own lives with kids and jobs and endless tasks and responsibilities.
Now, I would give anything to find the time for her.
Now, my time is spent examining her life and mine, without her.
Now, I belong to the motherless.
I am adrift, off course, drowning.
I have no one to pull me back…save me…see me.
I have no “good morning” text, no nightly “I love you” message. Her silence has filled my heart and home.
Going through drawers and remembering the year a certain item was purchased. Rereading every card she saved from birthdays, anniversaries, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, even though dad was not sentimental about those things.
Holding dishrags up to the light to count their holes, their bleach stains, their ragged edges.
Putting her flattened tin foil and ironed wrapping paper in the bin. She was a recycler before it was cool. I find myself smiling, despite myself.
I am more alone now than I’ve ever been, in this new group of the left behind.
I remember as a child, swimming or playing and saying, “Watch me!” like my actions only existed if she witnessed them. Otherwise, they were not important.
That’s how everything I do feels right now.
And I am silently begging: “Watch over me, watch over me. Because if you don’t see me, I don’t exist.”