And then it arrived. It was only the night before that I began to have any sense of what I wanted. I wanted to be pampered and acknowledged like any other mom. And I wanted to hold my son close. Just like any other mom.
The day was an emotional roller coaster, with beautiful happy moments and steep plunges into the darkest places my mind goes these days. All day the sun was shockingly bright. It made me feel raw and exposed.
The day began with an extraordinarily delicious breakfast in bed thanks to my loving husband...an omelet with fresh ricotta, herbs and vegetables. I lolled in bed, read blogs. Smiled with delight at the couple emails from friends who remembered it was my day too. Most did not.
Then to the cemetery. We haven't been since the fall, its been so cold. Plus I don't think of Ezra being there, his spirit is with me always. But recently Ezra has begun to feel so far away. I needed to go, to seek him out. I wasn't prepared for the death carnival atmosphere. The cemetery staff out in full force, offering free flowers, saccharine offers to find a "location".
I sat by his grave and talked to my boy. And I was so overcome with the deep sense that I failed him. I pleaded with Ezra to forgive me for having failed to protect him. For not helping to see this day, this ridiculously gorgeous day. I felt the sun on my face and prayed to the Source of Life. I begged my boy to trust me enough to bring another life into the world. The tears poured down my face.
I don't talk easily about the shame of losing Ezra. The deep feelings of failure that have eaten away at me since he left. I know they aren't rational. On some level, I know that there's nothing I could have done. And yet.... I thought I had conquered the shame. In fact I had stuffed it so deeply inside that until recently, even I didn't recognize it was still there.
Puttering around my garden in the afternoon, I was exhausted, worn out from the morning's emotional meltdown. In the end, I took a nap, much needed to steel myself for the evening's "celebration" with my own mom.
As the lovely and amazing Angie has written, no one in deadbabyland talks about their new relationship with their parents after losing their baby. My relationship with my mom is like the third rail, on this blog, but also in life. Everyone has a complicated mother-daughter relationship, I know I'm not alone in that. My own mother-daughter relationship almost ended entirely over my choice of a life partner. We got past this. It was not pretty. And having teetered on the edge of that cliff once before, I have no interest getting near that edge again. I don't have the energy for round 2.
Which means I'm angry. Furious. I'm furious my mom doesn't talk about Ezra as her grandson, that she doesn't acknowledge my pain as her own. Angry that she won't tell me she's grieving too.
In the beginning, the minutes, hours, days after Ezra died, my mom was my rock. I can't imagine how we would have survived if it weren't for my parents running to our aid. They were at the hospital within what felt like minutes of our call. They guided us through decisions about sitting shiva, purchasing cemetery plots...all the stuff we should still know nothing about. My mom cooked through her grief, stuffing our freezer and fridge with all my favorite foods, none of which I could bring myself to eat.
But as the months have worn on, my mom treats Ezra as a sad episode in our (not her) lives, not a life, a baby boy, who is mourned and missed. For the most part my dad does the same, but he's not my mom. Plus he's been recovering from major surgery. He gets a pass.That was a turning point when my mom stopped grieving with me. It was 2 1/2 months after Ezra died when my dad got sick. In her shock and anxiety over my dad's health, it was if she no longer had room in her heart for her dead grandson. Not that she ever expressed her grief before, but at least she was more present with mine.
Thankfully, my dad has recovered. I'm not sure my relationship with my mom ever will.
My mom never acknowledged me as a mom on Mother's Day. She didn't wish me a happy day. She didn't mention that it must be a hard day for me. She delighted in her gift. She loved the elaborate dinner I cooked. She went to sleep content, called today to thank me again for her celebration. I raged all the way home.
We live in parallel universes my mom and I. In her universe she has a loving close relationship with her daughter. In mine we share a loving relationship, marred by betrayal.
It wasn't an awful Mother's Day. I anticipated it would be much worse. I am just oh so very grateful its over.