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Sunday, May 15, 2016

A Motherless Mother's Day

The Friday before Mother's Day I was standing in line at my favorite supermarket, surrounded by reminders of what was being celebrated Sunday. A huge display of potted plants--orchids, mini roses, African violets, and some I couldn't name--was off to my right. On my left, a store employee was dipping strawberries in white or dark chocolate, covering them with candy sprinkles, and then carefully inserting the elegant treats into clear plastic clamshells.

In front and in back of me, every shopping cart displayed some sign of motherly affection. One cart held a fluffy pink teddy bear, and every person shopping either had a card in their hand or one in their basket.

I watched a woman debating over which plant to buy for her mother. She was turning each one over to read the price on the bottom. Finally she picked a small, green, non-flowering plant, and I wanted to tell her to put it back and take the pretty one. "You are lucky to have a mother," I wanted to say. "Spoil her as long as you can."

My own mother died in February, and I am still getting over it. Below is a poem I wrote about our weekly phone conversations, and wouldn't you just know it?--Mother's Day always falls on a Sunday.

Sunday Mornings
It’s Sunday.
I make waffles,
do a little writing,
take my daily two-mile walk,
wash a load of clothes.

Every Sunday morning
for thirty-six years
I called my mother
at ten o’clock.
We talked for an hour or more.

“What’s that noise?”
she would ask.
“I can hear you doing something.”
“I know, Mom,” I’d say to her
as I unloaded the dishwasher.

Every Sunday morning
I used to hurry through my work,
marking things off my list,
hoping to finish by ten.
I never made it.

Sometimes Mom heard cars
passing by while I walked and talked.
“I’m on my walk,” I’d explain.
“I’m taking you with me.”
“Good,” she’d say. “I need the exercise.”

Now every Sunday morning,
I chalk off my chores until ten.
Then there’s a hole in my day,
and an ache in my heart,
because she’s gone.

Ginger Dehlinger
March 2016

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