I grew up believing that I wanted marriage and motherhood, and if you've read my first book, [RE]BIRTH, you'll have some insight into my story. Short version: I'm divorced with no kids of my own.
Each Mother's Day, the sense of grief and sadness comes to me. I wonder about what it would have been like if the one small soul that said, "I'm here", all those years ago, had lived. A child to run to me, calling me, "Mamma!".
Each Mother's Day, too, I think of my own dear Mum, who departed this life just three days after my 45th birthday. I remember her, going around to everyone at my party to say hello and catch up. Even as an elderly lady, she loved to party!
I feel sad on Mother's Day. I feel such a loss, that I weep and the tears come too readily. In fact, they come to me now, and you know, that's natural. But also, I know that I am embraced, in spirit, by souls who love me and care for me. I come through it and carry on.
I also think of others who have lost their mothers, who have lost a child or baby, and those who are parted from their loved ones on special days, like Mother's Day. But, in my own grief, I hunker down and don't come out into the sunshine of someone else's love; I don't reach out for comfort, and I don't reach out to those I know who have suffered loss if they have someone else to carry them. But, maybe I should ...
In my sense of longing and sorrow on Mother's Day, my sister called me. I was so glad. Here was this mother and grandmother to her own tribe of beautiful children and grandchildren, thinking of me on my day of loneliness. I told her I was weepy, and glad of her call; and she said that she had a feeling I'd be down. I was weepy because no-one ever says, "Happy Mother's Day" to me. Mum used to, and I once had step-children who did (bless them), but I have no child of my own to hold, and to cheer on through life. So, my sister said it to me. You can't imagine how it feels to hear someone say those words to you, out loud, when your heart aches to hear them.
You know, sometimes we need to count our blessings, and I know that mine are many.
Later on Mother's Day, I received a text from a friend to say that her own mother had died that morning. Although she said that I didn't need to respond, the fact was that I did, for my own sake to talk to her and let her know I'm her for her in whatever way she needs me. We still have restrictions on how many people can attend a funeral, but if I can squeeze in, then I would like to be there. It's just so tricky with this COVID thing hanging over us, you know? So, I have to think of a back-up plan, just in case.
Here in Australia, we've had some success with COVID-19, in terms of reducing the number of people testing positive and particularly with mortality rates. But, there is still that very human cost, when people have lost someone they love. We have all struggled with the restrictions, especially when not being able to attend a funeral of a loved one. We are not able to gather around the bereaved, to put our arms around them and console them.
This year has been hard for many. I acknowledge there is a human toll in the economic hardship of these times, but we need to pull together and stay strong. We need to look out for our neighbours, friends, family, and colleagues, our students and teachers, our carers. We need to check in and ask, "Are you going okay? Do you need help with anything?", and we need to mobilise.
We need to mobilise to care and share, without putting more lives at risk. Those who have recovered from COVID-19 are already showing signs that it's effects last longer than the antigens in their system. It is shaping up to be more debilitating than we could imagine. If we want to regain our economic strength and our personal freedoms, we need to consider the ramifications of coming out of restrictions too soon and too readily.
Those ramifications are a wave of illness that is even worse than the first, make no mistake.
Yet, the benefits of staying home a little while longer, of staying 1.5 metres away from all other people, and of keeping our hands and environments clean ... those benefits are far greater than the toll of economic recession. The fact is, there is debt relief for the poorer countries (thanks to the World Bank), and all our governments have the ability to help individuals and families to get through financially, and they should. If the governments show this kind of leadership and strength during COVID-19, not only will they be voted back in again, but they will show their people how to lead and care for one another. Generosity never goes unrewarded .. especially if it is paid forward.
So, stay strong! If you are struggling with home-schooling or catching up with your own studies, then get a little tribe together (even online using Zoom, Whatsapp, Messenger or Skype) to help with study and comprehension of subjects (get Study Skills for Success, if you need to). Reach out and reach up!
If you are struggling with boredom, then start learning something! There are so many free courses on the internet at the moment, and YouTube has lots of videos to inspire you to do anything from graft 20 varieties of frangipani into one tree, to making your own marmalade, and beyond. Perfect your ability to meditate, to sing and dance, to speak another language, to become an expert in another culture. Instead of binge-watching TV series, why not binge on TED talks and podcasts? Instead of listening to music, why not make your own? If you'd like to develop your own website, why not try it out?
And finally, if you are lonely, then chances are that someone else is too. Contact your local charities and find out who needs a visit or phone call. Do someone's shopping for them. If you can go outside, remember to say hello and smile at the people you pass. You never know, you just might meet a soul-mate.
Don't give up. Don't give in. Just trust that one day, we'll all be able to hug again!