I’d like to someday change the common quip, “It’s the thought that counts” to “It’s time that counts.”
Mother’s Day is a bittersweet holiday for many, including myself.
It was two years ago this weekend I lost my mom. While others are bustling about trying to find the perfect gift for their mothers, I’m just trying to find the strength to get through the weekend intact.
In a way I’m lucky because I have wonderful memories of our last holiday together. Mom was especially in a good mood all that weekend, despite dealing with some nagging health issues. She always enjoyed celebrating, whether it was a small occasion such as a music concert or good grades on a report card to a large occasion such as someone’s birthday, a wedding anniversary, a holiday or especially a new baby. She would always say, the world has enough sorrow, we need more times to celebrate.
That last weekend was no exception. We spent the whole time together at my parents’ place, socializing with relatives, eating, laughing, picnicking in their beautiful back yard (always a must, weather permitting, to enjoy the fruits of Dad’s colorful gardens – truly a work of labor and love).
Then we decided to venture to the indoor Ferris wheel so all could have a ride to celebrate. Mom had always wanted to go on a hot-air balloon ride and this was the next best thing.
As usual, Mom and I talked into the wee hours of the morning, savoring each others’ company while the rest of the world slept. I think this was both hers and my favorite time together, spending hours trying to solve the world’s problems.
On our last day together, we enjoyed a walk to the local ice-cream shop for free Mother’s Day sundaes. At one point, she looked at me and said, “Sometimes I feel tired and I’m not sure I have the strength to keep fighting.” I reassuringly said to her that she’s still got plenty of fight in her, but her words shook me and in hindsight I believe she truly had a premonition.
As we gathered up our luggage and said our goodbyes, mom gave me a heartfelt hug, which lingered a moment longer than her usual lengthy hugs. She said “Happy Mother’s Day. I want you to know I’m so proud of you and what a good mother you are to your children.” I casually told her “I learned from the best” as we proceeded to plan our next time we would get together.
That day never came. Mom died a few hours later of a heart attack. Through tears, Dad told me over the phone there was nothing anyone could do to save her.
This Mother’s Day weekend, I wish I could have just one more day to relish in her company, her smile, her joy. Time is the one gift you can never replace. For those of you who are trying to find the perfect gift, please spend some extra time with your mother. Coming from one who’s been there, it’s truly the best gift given and received.