Dear Mother’s Day,
Sorry to be so direct, but I’m really frustrated right now. You have rolled into town, just like you do every year, with absolutely no regard for my feelings, my routine, or my mental and emotional health. Because of you, I’m currently operating at around 50% capacity during a week that calls for a minimum of 100%. You took one glance at my to do list and were like “lol, no”. As the kids say, that is rude af.
Three years ago, around this time, the grief I’d repressed for a year and a half after my mother’s death came roaring back, demanding to be heard and acknowledged. Instead of spending my 22nd summer on earth going to music festivals and BBQs and schlepping to work hungover, I spent months in my therapist’s office working through my grief. You were the instigator of the only unraveling I’ve had in my short life, and although I might like to try and forget it, my body remembers the significance of the season and my emotions have become allergic to the early May air.
These days, the traditional roots of the holiday – originally known as “Mothering Sunday” – have been dramatically weakened and today you are a mere commercialized ghost of the day of religious celebration that you once were. In fact, I bet ten out often people on the street wouldn’t even know its origins. But yet, you still manage to sideline me. And that just makes everything worse because it makes me feel weak and silly. I mean really, who lets the Hallmark industrial complex get in the way of being a contributing member of society? Me, apparently.
I feel like I‘m underwater and don’t know how to find my way back to the surface. I am looking at the world through a haze, unable to move at a regular pace. Earlier today, I spent almost 20 whole minutes staring at my inbox feeling completely and totally incapable of taking the first step towards tackling the day’s to do list. I feel friable and tender and sensitive to anything I might perceive as criticism, which makes it hard to work with other human beings. Oh, and I’m a real ball at home, too. Ain’t no girlfriend like a grieving girlfriend, because a grieving girlfriend’s emotions can turn on a dime.
I’m thinking I might have to dip into my small reserve of paid vacation days because of you. Thanks. I was saving those for Christmas. Also, that means that if I’m not at work getting my tasks done, more work will fall on my colleagues. I hate that. It makes me feel guilty. And I hate that, too.
You are a reminder that, no matter how much time grows between my current self and my mother’s death, that loss will reverberate through my life forever. You are a reminder that although I can make peace, I may never really get peace. You are a reminder that this grief will live in my body for as long as it walks the earth and that makes me so mad and sad and it makes me feel like maybe I should go to yoga. But if I go to yoga I’ll probably cry in class and, honestly, my fragile little heart would crumble under the weight of my embarrassment. And oh, I hate that, too.
Listen, I know that you mean well. I know you’re a source of joy for so many and I remember the joy you brought to my own family once upon a time. I often feel guilty for being all bitter and twisted about a holiday that brings happiness to so many over lovely floral brunches. But then I remember that I didn’t ask to have a dead mom. In fact, I’m pretty sure I distinctly recall asking for the exact opposite.
So, Mother’s Day, kindly fuck off and let me live. I don’t have time for this shit, and I certainly didn’t ask for it.
Nicole Belanger is a freelance writer based in Toronto, Canada. She also publishes her own work at fourthhour.com. You can follow her on Twitter @nskbelanger.