Mother’s Day Without A Mother Or A Child: A Conversation On Another Plane

Here we meet again. The three of us. Together only in my mind.

Mom, you were given only 59 years on this planet before being called back to Heaven, but you made those years meaningful. You made an imprint on everyone who knew you. You spent 36 of those years raising me, protecting me, teaching me, worrying for me, arguing with me, getting frustrated with me, encouraging me, being proud of me, laughing with me, being my friend, helping turn me into the person I am today, and forming a bond between mother and daughter that can never be broken, even between Heaven and Earth.

And You, the daughter I never had. You’ve never been embodied on Earth. I’ve come to believe you were not meant to be part of my life in this world, but that doesn’t mean you don’t exist.

And Me. The link whose mind keeps our three spirits intertwined.

I believe all three of us know each other in our own ethereal way.

Mom, before we were faced with your cancer, before I lived through the experience of protecting you, putting your needs before my own, taking care of you when you could no longer take care of yourself, you, the woman who had cared for me, who had always made me her priority, who never let a day go by without telling me she loved me, before that experience, having children was not in the forefront of my mind.

My perspective was always, if my life worked out in such a way that I got married and had kids, I would be thrilled. If not, that would be okay too. I felt like my life was being guided. Like my life had a plan, but I wasn’t privy to all the details in advance.

But, Mom, after you were gone, when I was no longer part of a daily Mother/Daughter relationship, my perspective changed. I became an observer of Mother/Daughter relationships. I notice now, resemblance between parents and their children and the intricacies of relationships between mothers and daughters in a way I never did when I was in the middle of one.

Not being a member of the Mother/Daughter Club feels strange. And sometimes sad.

I find myself wondering these days what my daughter would have been like, had she been part of this world. But, instead of happy daydreams of what might have been, this abstract wondering brought on by any number of emotional triggers in the world around me, left me incredibly sad for what doesn’t seem to be part of my life’s plan.

I needed to find a way to deal with my feelings that would leave me feeling positive, not sad.

This week while driving in silence in my car, thinking about Mother’s Day and my complicated feelings on not having a mom and not being a mom, something told me to turn on music. I hit the shuffle button and the song that appeared was my answer. I knew someone whose plan for me sometimes outreaches my understanding was giving me the sign I needed.

These lyrics, based on a quote hundreds of years old, changed my perspective yet again.

“Life is eternal
And love is immortal
And death is only a horizon.
Life is eternal, as we move into the light
And a horizon is nothing, save the limit of our sight.”
-Life is Eternal

Life doesn’t begin or end on Earth. Love isn’t tied to our humanness. A horizon isn’t an end – only the end of what you can see. Just because you can’t see what is beyond the horizon, doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

You do exist, daughter that I never had. Your spirit exists in me just as much as my mom’s spirit does. Just because I never got to meet you in physical form doesn’t make you any less a part of my life than she is.

If we had shared a life together here, I think it would have been pretty great. I picture you as a great kid.

I think you would’ve been a little bit nerdy and geeky, in the best possible way, because that is definitely who I am. I think you would’ve been born with the ability to crack me up. Just as I lived to make my mom laugh when I was growing up. I think you would have been quiet and kind.

I would have paid attention to you and encouraged you to be creative and get the house messy when you played. We would have read together. Constantly. I would have exposed you to sports, history, movies from the 40s and music from the 60s.

I would have protected you when you needed me and tried to hold back when you needed to stand on your own. You would have eventually become embarrassed by me in public, but the bond we built would have outlasted your teenage years.

I would have encouraged you to think for yourself. To listen to others, but not be influenced by the crowd when you have your own opinion. To not be afraid to be different. To not be afraid to ask questions. To be nice to everyone, and include everyone, especially those who others ignore. And above all else, to never be afraid to come to me about anything.

As for what you might have looked like, let’s go to the family photo album.

I never noticed the resemblance between Mom and I when she was alive, but now, looking back through pictures, and sometimes catching glimpses of her in my own face when I look in the mirror, I realize how much we looked alike. I think you might have continued the line.

Me and Mom as babies in our strollers.
Me and Mom as babies in our strollers.
I happened to run across these photos and noticed they are near carbon copies taken 23 years apart. On the right is my great grandpa in a chair holding his granddaughter (my mom) on his lap, looking on while she holds her doll. On the left is my great grandpa in a similar chair, looking on while his great granddaughter (me) holds her doll. I love this photo beyond words.
I happened to run across these photos and noticed they are near carbon copies taken 23 years apart. On the right is my great grandpa in a chair holding his granddaughter (my mom) on his lap, looking on while she holds her doll. On the left is my great grandpa in a similar chair, looking on while his great granddaughter (me) holds her doll. I love this photo beyond words.
A contest of "Who Wore It Better" 23 years in the making.
A contest of “Who Wore It Better” 23 years in the making.
Three years old and we were both styling the same haircut. And the same "Are you taking my picture now?" expression. Mom's picture is from a photo booth.
Three years old and we were both styling the same haircut. And the same “Are you taking my picture now?” expression. Mom’s picture is from a photo booth.
Five years old and smiling – no doubt about starting kindergarten. We both loved school.
Five years old and smiling – no doubt about starting kindergarten. We both loved school.
Second grade. Collared shirts and patterned sweaters and still showing our teeth when we smiled.
Second grade. Collared shirts and patterned sweaters and still showing our teeth when we smiled.
Ninth grade. One of my favorite pictures of my mom...not necessarily my favorite picture of me. Mom was stylin' in her 1968 dress and flip hairdo. I was technically stylin' in my 1991 black silk shirt but Mom definitely made better use of her hairspray than I did.
Ninth grade. One of my favorite pictures of my mom…not necessarily my favorite picture of me. Mom was stylin’ in her 1968 dress and flip hairdo. I was technically stylin’ in my 1991 black silk shirt but Mom definitely made better use of her hairspray than I did.
The last picture taken of Mom on our last New Year's Eve together.
The last picture taken of Mom on our last New Year’s Eve together.

I may not have the both of you here to influence me and be influenced by me, but you still influence me every day from where you are, and I can leave my imprint on the world around me. I can be a positive influence on the people in my life through my actions, my attitude, and my love. And I can share my story with the world through my writing.

This new way of looking at things has brought me much peace.

The three of us all exist together – simply on different planes.

So here we meet again. Our three spirits. Together in my mind.
And in my soul.

Happy Mother’s Day.

Mom and Me on our very first Mother's Day when I was a month old! Even as I'm wailing the joy on Mom's face as she holds me is worth a thousand words. Or rather, it epitomizes one word: Mom.
Mom and Me on our very first Mother’s Day when I was a month old! Even as I’m wailing the joy on Mom’s face as she holds me is worth a thousand words. Or rather, it epitomizes one word: Mom.
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10 thoughts on “Mother’s Day Without A Mother Or A Child: A Conversation On Another Plane

  1. This is wonderful. Thank you. I have bookmarked it to share later with my own daughter, age 24, who already knows she’ll never be able to have children. I’m not sure when the “later” that I’ll share this will be, but it will be shared.

    I wish you the best possible (what’s left of it) Mother’s Day. Thank you for writing this blog. I truly helps keep me grounded.

  2. Beautiful!! The time and energy you devoted to this one definitely shines through. I never give enough attention to how important it is to preserve pictures until I see something like this. It is so true that life is beyond our comprehension. I love your attitude.

  3. This is wonderful. I LOVE the side by side pictures. Thank you for writing and sharing all these thoughts with us. I appreciate your amazing perspective.

  4. I saw this a few days ago, but couldn’t find words to reply right away. (I seem to be needing more and more time to process things these days.) I still don’t have anything especially profound or wise to say, just: This post really touched me. Those photos. Oh, there is something about the way we can see one generation in the next. It’s so sweet-sad I almost can’t bear it. And the daughter you’ve never gotten to know physically, in this plane. That, too. Wishing you peace and love, Shannon.

    1. Thanks, so very much, Rita. This means a lot to me. I need more time to process things these days too. I know there’s been more than one post of yours that I’ve had to think on and come back later to comment. 🙂 I appreciate you taking the time to so for my post. Writing this post was a huge help in processing my own feelings that had been swarming around in my mind for quite some time. Writing can be a very cathartic gift to yourself…and hopefully to others!

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