Mother’s Day is still difficult for me – I’m flooded with memories of my dear mother, snatched away on July 4, 1998. scan0077

It took me about five years before I was able to stand in front of a card display and not break down weeping. I’d make my daughter-in-law cards on my computer so I didn’t have to face the public wall of happy greetings.

I occasionally get caught in the grip of grief again (it never goes away, just morphs into a dull ache) and have to fake a smile when the kids have me over for brunch – Mother’s Day is for the living, after all. Sometimes I’ll sift through the bins of photos I’ve stored for decades. There were more happy times than sad, but every once in a while I catch myself saying, “Mom should see this” or “Mom would have loved this”. I often say to my grandchildren how proud Nana would be of their accomplishments.

Gradually, oh, so slowly, I’m shedding the ‘stuff’ I’ve had in our basement for almost twenty years. Last night, I finally let go of the old chest freezer that’s been lurking in our workroom. I’m sure it was 20 years old when I had it moved from Calgary. It got to the point where it was running almost constantly. I could imagine the hydro meter spinning like a wind turbine, just sucking electricity off the grid. It will be interesting to see if our hydro bill goes down.The new chest freezer is enormous. And quiet.

I had to clean up boxes of old knitting patterns and fancy lace handkerchiefs and gloves. Instead of holding each piece in my hand and trying to summon up memories, I tossed them in a bag for the Salvation Army. They’re just things, after all.

Here are some thoughts I’ve collected from various sources over the years about loving and loss and growing older.

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I totally agree with you and when we are dealing with our older loved ones we that must be respectful and take time to understand… if we continue to live we will also be in the same or similar situation.  I think as long as we keep that foremost in our minds we will be more generous in our responsibilities of our elders. Iris

I went through this with my grandmother who died at 88 and I still miss our fussing and laughing together.  My mother died at 34 and I was 16, so I did not get to see her age. There is so much I’ve missed. Amy

My Godmother is 81 and very feisty but her body is turning on her and she is having a difficult time. But she knows she will have our help and support when and if she needs it.  Paula

Aging can be an ugly process.  My grandmother is 86 and has always been very independent.  Suddenly she finds herself weak, unable to drive, less able to walk, vision impaired, and an attitude that slices into all of us that care.  She was always a razor-tongued hot wire but, her feelings of inadequacy and her desire not to give up compound all the “negative” aspects of her personality. Merill

I love my grandmother immensely.  The sacrifices she has made for my well-being over the last 41 years are nothing short of heroic.  Her love has always been unconditional, unlike my mother’s.  However, there are times when I cry for her.  The ravages of time, of a hard life, of losing my grandfather 14 years ago after 54 years of marriage, have taken their toll. Dane

Try to remember that our times are coming.  Our daughters/sons will bear our burdens and will bitch.  They will be frustrated as we cling to our ways, right or wrong.  After all, we are strong women!  The very strength that works with you in youth works against you in old age.  Patsy

Make every day a special day. Be mindful of how very fortunate we are, despite the challenges we might face. Hug the ones you love. Do a good deed, no matter how small you may think it is. Laugh and be good to yourself.