Celebrating Mother’s Day Without Mom

written by Julie Cohn

Mom 3

I’d been dreading this day for weeks, but like a steam train advancing briskly along a track, it came anyway, whether I was ready or not.  Less than two months after she passed from cancer, I am celebrating Mother’s Day without my Mom.

The last time I spent Mother’s Day with my Mom was four years ago.  My parents were visiting for my sons’ Confirmation, then stayed 10 days longer so we could spend Mother’s Day together.  Usually when they visit, we are rushed with birthday parties or holiday events, but this trip was laid-back and relaxing.  I loved spending time with my parents that trip-going shopping, sightseeing, and spending “every day” time together.  My Mom and I cooked together, planted herbs together, and even helped me decorate for a blog project I was working on at the time.  The Sunday of Mother’s Day, we went to church together, then out for dinner to celebrate “our day”.  I had no way of knowing it would be the last Mother’s Day I would spend with her, but I was aware that our time together was special, and treasured the moment with her.

I’m not going to lie.  The past few weeks since she passed have been hard…really hard.   I used to talk to my Mom 3-4 times a week, but now, when I long to hear her voice, I am left with just a few old voice mail messages on my cell phone.  I relish every word, every giggle in her voice, sometimes replaying a message over and over a few times, just to capture the unique nuances of her voice.  I’ve struggled with all this more than I thought I would.  I’ve cried more the past few weeks than I have my entire life.  My sorrow comes in waves–sometimes a gentle ripple along the shore, other times a tidal surge I am unable to control.   Sometimes I am angry, sometimes confused, but as the weeks go on, the memories I have of her are become less painful.  I struggle every day to celebrate the memories I have,  and to treasure those memories with love and laughter, not tears.


I miss her so much.  She was my biggest critic and my biggest cheerleader.  She was the first person to encourage me and the first person to call me out when I was “misbehaving”.   My compass is gone, and I find navigating the waters of life harder than I thought.  When they say there is nothing like a Mother’s love, they are not kidding.  Still, here, in the early morning of Mother’s Day, I find myself with a sense of peaceful calm.

We never know how much time we have with the people we love, and oftentimes, we squander that precious time with petty worries and shallow wants.  Show the people you love, whomever they are, that they are the most important thing in your life; cherish every moment you have with them.  This is not a cliche.  Make every moment count.

Mother’s Day is a time to celebrate our mothers and all they are to us.  Though my Mom is no longer with me, her role as my Mom has not diminished.  She is still the person who made me chicken soup when I was sick, the person who stayed up all night with me to put Lee Press-On nails before I was crowned Miss Canaltown Queen, the first person to see my son after he was born (beside my husband and I), the person who held my hand during mass on Mother’s Day four years ago.  She is still my Mom, so today I happily celebrate all that she is to me.

I love you Mom.

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Pat Cohn 05/10/2015 at 2:50 am

What a Beautiful tribute to your Mom.. Your memories are priceless, stored in your heart forever. Now you can build the same kind of memories with Nick. Sending Hugs your way.

rosemary nardone 05/10/2015 at 5:03 am

What a lovely tribute. My Mom passed in January and it’s been a hard year. You are so lucky you have some messages of her voice, I wish I had saved some of mine. We lived together so I didn’t have as many as I could have. We were so close, me being an only child, and my Dad passed in 2004. I try to think of all the good times, but the sadness still comes on at times. Our last Mother’s Day was at her favorite restaurant, and I took one of the best photos of her there enjoying her meal. I hope you have a nice Sunday, filled with great memories of your Mom. ♥

Sara Lim 05/30/2015 at 10:13 pm

That was beautiful. Heartfelt. Lovely. My Mom has been “fighting” Cancer for 6 years, chemo once a month and I enjoy every moment I have with her, knowing it won’t be forever, nothing is…thank God for our Husband’s and Son’s. Much love, new friend.


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