Can I be honest with everybody? Sometimes honesty can be politically incorrect, or unpopular, but I want to be honest. Because honestly, yesterday sucked. It sucked hard. Mother’s Day 2010 wasn’t the suckiest day I ever had. That honor goes to the day I lost my son. It probably doesn’t even make the top ten of suckiest days in recent memory. In order the other nine are; the day after I lost my son, that day in November he suffered his hypoxic event, the day we sat in an office full of pediatric pulmonary, neurological, and internal medicine specialists and they told us some very hard truths about Ukiah’s condition and I had to contain my husband to not crawl over a conference table and throttle a doctor and we had to make some very hard choices about Ukiah’s condition and we had to draw some very hard lines in the sand that we wouldn’t be willing to cross to save his life, the three very, very close calls we had in the Hospital NICU and PICU (tied for fifth), the first two days of his life in which I was stuck in a hospital twenty miles away from the hospital he was stuck in and I couldn’t see him at all (tied for eighth) and every day I spent in the hospital in which another family lost a child and I was witness to their heartbreak and experienced my own heartbreak for them(that’s four days in total, tied for tenth). So obviously, yesterday doesn’t make the list.
But Mother’s Day sucked nonetheless. To start with, I was antsy and bitter about the whole Mother’s Day enterprise days, neigh weeks prior to the day. Then I went for my usual Sunday Morning bagel run and was accosted by the guy at the register with a simple question; “Are you a mother?” It was a simple question but I didn’t know how to answer it. So I told him no. “Well if you were I was going to wish you Happy Mother’s Day.” I couldn’t process it. Then I called my mother and told her the story (after wishing her a Happy Mother’s Day) and she was a little shocked that I didn’t say yes to that simple question. And then I snapped and said something more mean-spirited than I intended.
“I’m not a mother. What am I mothering now? A box?” I looked over at the pile of toys sitting on the fireplace tile and searched the center of the pile for the little white sterile-looking plastic box that held my son’s remains as I said it. I can’t hold the box, not like I held him. I can’t squeeze the box and kiss it’s head and tell it how much I love it. I can’t feed the box, change its diaper, administer it’s medications, suction it, play with it, run it through its exercises and do all the things I did with Ukiah that made me his mother. I don’t have the routines that comprised our days, I don’t have several different specialists to talk to, phone calls to make, all the thousands of details that comprised the label of Mother. I don’t have any of that now and I feel I’m completely unworthy of the title no matter how much anyone and everyone tells me I’m still worthy of it.
I guess in my heart I’ll always be his mother but how can I mother him when’s he’s gone somewhere I can’t follow? It seems empty now in a way I can’t describe. Chris said I was more worthy of the title than a lot of mothers out there because I did more for him in two years than some mothers are capable of. He also said that I should answer the question with an unequivocal yes any time I’m every asked the question. I’m not sure I have the heart, the confidence required to utter such words to such a question. Maybe someday, but today, yesterday, aren’t, weren’t those days.
I feel like maybe I and women like me should have our own day. An Unmother’s day of sorts because we had that title and wore that title proudly and then it was stripped from us brutally, as were our responsibilities, as was the very honor of calling the beautiful souls our children, and now we don’t have those things. We don’t have the very individual that so wonderfully graced us with the title. Although I will always be completely honored to say that I was Ukiah’s mother. I will proudly say I knew one of the strongest, most unique, most beautiful souls ever in existence and I am proud that I got to call him my son. I just wish he was still here so I could continue calling him my son and I still had the wonderful title of being his mother.