At the Hallmark store, I found the "birthday for her" cards, and after 20 minutes of reading and discarding, none seemed a good choice for a friend’s birthday.
As I headed for the front door, I passed racks full of Mother’s Day cards. Oh, how I wished my Mother were still with me. I used to spend a lot of time finding just the right card for her with the sentiment and design that reflected our relationship — the prose not dripping with sweetness, not too distant-sounding, not too corny or shallow.
I might find a card with a watercolor picture of a garden and imagine my Mother by the red geranium border, her back to me, head cocked in contemplation about whether to plant white phlox behind the geraniums. The text inside might read, “For my Mother, who planted the seeds of love and carried my dreams like a bouquet of flowers.”
However, I wanted a card with deeper thoughts, such as a Rumi poem that reads:
“Flowers live for a short moment,
but the flowers that grow from reason remain fresh.
The blossoms of earth wither and fade.
The blossoms of the heart, what a joy!”
My Mother loved me deeply without swallowing my identity and without binding me to hers. I loved her deeply, too. Even so, my love often carried reservations that were carefully pushed aside on Mother’s Day.
Not long ago, my 18-year-old granddaughter asked what it is like to lose your parents. I said that, of course, I missed them and that it is sad to no longer be someone’s daughter. More than that though, life became defined as before and after.
Mother’s Day cards prompt memories of before. Today, I want my Mother to know how well our families have turned out, and I want to know what she thinks of Trump, but this is after.
My grief for her still lingers and always will to some degree, while loving memories bring fresh joy as I blossom further and further into old age.
Judith Ticehurst lives in Medford.