‘It’s A Bit Like Being Single On Valentine’s Day, But Shittier’ – The Realities Of Mother’s Day Without A Mum

Yes, you'll feel a bit alone - but then your mates step in

‘It’s A Bit Like Being Single On Valentine’s Day, But Shitter’ - The Realities Of Mother’s Day Without A Mum

by Lena deCasparis |

Today marks my seventh Mother's Day without, er, how to do I put it? Oh yes – without my mum. Now, please don't do that thing where your head tilts slightly to the right, and you go all apologetically awkward when I tell you my mum died after years of a brutal form of Parkinsons when I was 21. Don’t do it… Stop it.

The truth is, I never really celebrated Mother's Day, even when she was alive. I'd love to go all misty eyed and regale you with stories of bunched red tulips and five-course home cooked meals, but it'd be utter bullshit. At my best, one year I took her (I say I took, I'm pretty sure she paid) for a cream tea at the local posh hotel. I was 17 – and so obviously she was annoying me with every judgemental look, and no doubt I'd thoroughly pissed her off with my shitty attitude and Adidas hoodie.

By the scone course, post some soggy cucumber sarnies, we’d had a row about me wanting to have my current boyfriend stay 'on a school night’. In retrospect I realise it may have been more about the fact he was 24, the local weed dealer, and a bit of a dick - than the fact that it was a Sunday. Still, the day was a complete failure.

Other years for Mother’s Days I did even better and forgot altogether. Well, until she reminded me and I shrugged and offered to make her cup of tea.

Of course, she deserved so much more, and I was a little shit. But much like everyone else you take your folks for granted, right? Well, I did.

But here are a few things you only realise when you've spent a Mother's Day without your mum:

You’ll tell yourself it’s all commercial crap

Working as a journalist, the many pointless emails with tedious PR messages to sell you pretty much anything because ‘It’s Fucking Mother’s Day’ start in about January. ‘Get your mum a new hose as she loves watering the garden…' ‘Diet pills, for the special mum in your life.’ Or my personal favourite that I found in my inbox just last week: 'Give her a basket making course – to help her carry that heavy load of motherhood'. Brilliantly stupid - but none of this is any use to me, nor anyone with a mum who’s still alive for that matter. Even the founder of Mother's Day would have been appalled at the $20 billion spent on cards and tat. So take it from me you'll spend a lot of time tutting about how it's just another pointless day that the captalists are making a profit from.

And you’ll also learn an awkward joke to pacify above said head tilt

Telling people you have a dead parent is never easy. I've ruined a few first dates with fit guys and potential job interviews by dealing with the classic 'What do your parents do?' badly. I've now learnt if it's a first meeting - lie. Or try to avoid the question... Through more lying. When I have had to tell the truth it tends to go something like this:

Them: ‘So, what you doing for Mother’s Day?’

Me: ‘Oh, not much - my mum died when I was 21…’

Them: Head tilt. Awkward twitch. ‘Oh gosh, erm, I’m sorry.’

Me: ‘Oh, It’s fine. Really it’s fine. Totally fine.'

Them: Awkward twitch continues.

Me: ‘It’s FINE! I’m great. Happier with her gone! Lol. See, happy.’

Them: Awkward twitch turns to awkward silence, while they think I’m a heartless cow.

Point proved, not good. So, generally I lie.

Shit jokes aside, you will feel a bit alone

Mother’s Day without a mum is bit like being single on Valentine's Day: every card shop window you walk past feels like it’s yelling ‘you’re ALONE’ but only at you. Every person clutching a bunch of browning carnations makes you bitter. And every restaurant filled with tables for two makes you nauseous. In short, it’s all a bit rubbish - and lonely. And to make it worse, the only difference between an absent mum to an absent BF, is there's no chance next year might be different for me. Lol. Sorry, no lying here.

But then your mates step in

The great thing about really stinking miserable times in your life is... You get reminded how totally awesome your mates are. Trust me, when a parent dies it’s insane how brilliant they’ll be; one friend of mine called me every day to check I was ok. At the time she was living in Hong Kong and would wake up in the night so that the time zones worked for me. When a parent dies it feels like your family has shrunk in half and that you're alone (see above point). But what actually happens is your family grows - full of your fab mates. On Mother’s Day they’ll send you brilliant texts, with funny heart Emoji sequences. Plus they’ll take you for scones and teas, and you won't have even had to push out a baby to eat the clotted cream.

And you’ll come to realise everyone will spend a Mother’s Day without their mum

Nobody wants their parents to outlive them. Nobody. So the sad reality is that there will come a point in your life when you, like me, will go through a Mother's Day without your mum. Shortly after my mum died one of my best friend came to me and said 'Well, thank fuck it's happened to you first, now you can help me through when I have to do it'. It was strangely the most comforting thing anyone offered me. Why? Mainly as it went to prove, again, that you are not alone.

But no matter what you’ll still wish you’d celebrated your mum more

Not just on one silly commercial day, but every day. Yep, it’s soppy and sentimental but mums are incredible, superhuman beings. And no matter how faultless a child you are, you’ll always wish you’d done more, and told them more how bloody brilliant they were a few extra times. I wish I had. But then, when I think about, I'm pretty sure she knew – even if she did really hate that Adidas hoodie.

This article originally appeared on The Debrief in 2015.

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Follow Lena On Twitter: @lenadecasparis

Picture: Li Hui

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