We are on the beach in the summer of 2007.
In past years I enjoyed Mother’s Day. I when I lived in my home town before my son was born I would have all the Mother’s in our family over for a Mother’s Day Brunch. I’d set the table with the good china. There would be flowers and place cards. The food would be heavenly and the dessert decadent. There would be small but thoughtful gifts wrapped in beautiful paper.
Then I got pregnant, and the same year moved away from my hometown. Mother’s day was still nice. Now I got cards and gifts as well! Occasionally some of us were able to get together for Mother’s Day. Perhaps my Mom and Dad would visit for the weekend. Or we would go back to the hometown and stay with one family and visit the other. Now one of my grandmother’s was in a nursing home, the other had headed to Florida to do what grandmothers do in that tropical climate. Then we moved again.
Now we were much further from home. My son was in elementary school. My grandmothers had passed away. I received those lovely hand made elementary school gifts. I still have a booklet of coupons he made for me. He is upset I never turned them in but I like having them to look back at his handwriting and drawings. It is just a little bit fun to hold some of the coupon offers over his head from time to time as well.
When we bought a cottage up north Mother’s Day weekend became the weekend we went up to begin to open the cottage. Usually it was mild enough for us to get the water running. That was a marvelous Mother’s Day gift! After spending the winter cottage weekends camping with no running water it was wonderful to be able to simply flush a toilet again. I love to shower at the cottage with lake water. I much refer the slightly green ting to the smell of chlorine here in the city. Heck some children spend a lot of money on spa gift certificates so their moms can have an algae bath. All I had to do was go to the cottage! After a week of showering at the cottage my winter dry flaky skin vanishes.
Mother’s Day was still a good day in my book. Then came Zara. Zara was a puppy when we got her and a puppy when she left us. She was a rambunctious, silly Airedale Terrier who loved each of us, and the world at large. She was just 2 years old in the spring of 2005 when she was diagnosed with a congenital kidney disorder. There were some outstanding medial treatments we might have been able to do. We could have done dialysis, but some how taking her and hooking her up to tubes for hours for a treatment in a kennel at the vets even if we sat with her did not seem right. She would rather have us play with her in the yard. We briefly tried feeding her the special diet dog food for canines in her situation. If she ate just that and no treats she might have lived a bit longer. But she refused to eat it. So we went back to feeding her regular kibble with her favorite treats from time to time. She had helped us decide to live out her last days with as much joy as possible.
We made the difficult decision to put her down just before Mother’s Day 2005. We took her to the cottage for one glorious last weekend. We took her out on the boat and let her feel the wind in her hair. We let her sleep on the beds, even though her paws were muddy. We fed her bacon. We let her lay in the sun by the warm woodstove. Then on Monday morning we rode with her into the vets and sat with her with a kong full of peanut butter while the vet as gently as possible did what was best to end her suffering before it got too bad.
Mother’s Day 2006 we were opened the cottage with no muddy paws. No one rolled in a dead fish at the beach. No one sounded the alarm when the chipmunk came up on the deck. I was sad, but hopeful, and now we have Miss Ellie a rescued Airedale Pup from AireCanada.
I was looking forward to Mother’s Day 2007. Things were looking up. Then the phone rang, it was my father’s cell phone. My first tip that something was very wrong. He never uses the cell phone. He was in his car following my mother’s ambulance. She had bumped her head a few days ago and was having trouble walking. Her doctor had sent them to the local hospital to get a test and it showed a brain tumor. It was so serious they were moving her immediately to a larger hospital. Over the next few days as Mother’s Day approached we found out that my mother had stage 4 lung and brain cancer.
It was so strange to be picking out Mother’s Day cards. We usually picked out funny cards but I felt like I wanted to send a sentimental one. I did not want to send a sentimental one though, since I did not want her to worry that I was worried. I sent a mildly funny cheery one.
I was worried. Every part of my body ached with worry. When I slept I woke up in tears. I woke with my jaw clenched and my hands in fists. I woke each day feeling more tired than when I laid down.
I was right to worry. This year will be my first Mother’s Day with out my mother.