Every day is like Sunday

Today is my mother’s birthday.  Had she lived, she would be 69 years old.  It feels as though I ought to write something meaningful about her on this particular day, but the truth is that August 3 is only one of many days when I feel her absence.

In July, there is the anniversary of her death – 34 years ago last month.  In August comes her birthday.  September brings my birthday and two of my kids’ birthdays, and I reflect on how she felt all those decades ago, holding her new Baby Me.  Then there is October, when my kids dress up for Halloween and I imagine her seeing them with me.  November is Thanksgiving, the holiday when I am a perpetual guest, and December is Chanukah.  Then there is January, with the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, decided the year I was born, and each year I am reminded that she found out she was having me right around the time it would have been legal to abort me, which leads me to thinking how wanted I must have been.  Then there is February, a month designed for brooding, and March with Passover, and April is the cruelest month, and so on and so on.

The truth is, I grew up without parents, and no amount of healing or growing is going to change that.  It is a sign of my progress in the last few years that I am able to acknowledge that the emptiness of motherlessness knows no season.  Her absence is there all the time and in everything I do.  It does not dominate me, I do not think about it all the time, but it certainly shapes me.

I haunt Facebook, seeking friends from college and high school.  I’d like to find people I knew in elementary school, but I don’t know their last names.  There is no one to ask, no contact who can help me dig up those earlier memories, so my attempts to build myself a creditable past necessarily stop when I was eleven.  And no matter how thoroughly I reconstruct the last quarter century, I will always be missing the first decade.

You cannot plant yourself roots or grow yourself a childhood.  It is what it is.  I am not angry so much anymore but I am sad.  There will always be a missing piece.

23 responses to “Every day is like Sunday

  1. oh, sweetheart. there is an army of people around you who would love to act as substitute family. it’s not the same, not at all — but it’s something, i hope.


  2. I so totally understand about a forever missing piece. Sending you warm thoughts.

  3. Oh, Em.

    A haunting post. I’m holding you in my heart right now.

  4. I can’t imagine the hole that is left. Hugs.

  5. I do have a mother but she was/is never there. Physically I had/have one, then again not really. Therefore, I stopped missing her. I know it’s not the same thing, yours might have been a great mother and I am sorry that she missed in your life. I just wanted to point out that having a living mother isn’t necessarily the yolk of the egg, like we say here in Switzerland. I’m glad that at least you’ve got a wonderful family of your own. Hugsss

  6. Oh Emily, I’m sorry you’re feeling adrift. I don’t know how old you were when your mom died, or what kind of relationship you had before her passing, but I think Blooming Desertpea makes a good point. It’s hard NOT to miss the things and people we never had, but I know for myself, that oftentimes the relationships and experiences that I mourn are ones that I might not have had anyway.

    Yeah, I know that’s cold comfort at best. But sometimes it helps me get through to think of it that way.

  7. Yes, I think there is an empty place where loving parents should have been but aren’t and that can’t be changed. I find that being a mother helps with the emptiness, especially as I grow older and age puts me in the position of being the older rather than younger generation. Spirituality helps me. The emptiness is less acute. But I understand it.

  8. I can’t fathom it. Sending you love.

  9. Happy Birthday to your mother. I know she’d be very proud of the person and mother you became, especially since you had to do it without her.

  10. My mom is still alive and yet I still search for answers as to what I was like back then.

    It’s so touching that you know in your heart how much your mom wanted you and clearly loved you. I’m so sorry for your sadness.

  11. Ooof. Thinking of you today, Emily.

  12. Reading this makes me feel sad for you. I’m thinking of you.

  13. Oh, Emily.

    I have nothing helpful to say, of course, but I wanted to comment to say…I heard you.

    (I lost the first 12 years of my life as well, though differently).

  14. I’m so sorry for your loss, for it is a deep one. Thinking of you Emily…

  15. I sometimes have problems with my mother, but I can’t even begin to imagine life without her. So sorry.

  16. This was so beautiful and sad.

    I am sorry for the cause your grief, and yet glad that you are able to grieve and admit your grief. It seems healthier to me than ignoring the hole.

  17. bless you and your strength.

  18. Oh my. I’ve just come from Doctordi’s blog where she is commenting on the hunt for a missing mother who abandoned a newborn, and wondering why it’s so important to find the natural mother. And I wrote that attachment theory was central to the romanticising of the mother figure, when adoptive mothers can provide just as good care. So then I arrive here, and find incontrovertible evidence that the absence of those parents can be impossible to overcome. I send hugs, as inadequate as they are.

  19. i wouldn’t say the, litlove. had i actually had an adoptive mother, i might not feel this way.

  20. Cheeky Monkey

    these are the kinds of posts that make me feel so guilty for all the bitching i do about my own, living mother (my relationship with my dead father is so much less complicated.).

  21. That missing piece makes me think of one empty room in a whole house of rooms. But maybe there’s one window – for the time you had your mother with you – that lets in the brightest light. (I’m all about the metaphor today, clearly.)


  22. Love to you, Em. Always.

  23. She Started It

    I’m so, so sorry.