Mother’s Day is approaching. I know this because today at the mall, I saw a pink and white sign above one of the makeup counters displaying, TREAT YOUR MOM! And I just thought, here it comes.

The stores will soon have cards, the ones with someone else’s printed words of appreciation. There will be commercials about where to shop, where to eat and where to buy the best flowers from. People will be making plans to honor their mothers; but what about us? What about the motherless?

Any holiday without a parent is difficult, no matter how many years have passed since their passing. But Mother’s Day every year is just a constant reminder, everywhere I look, that my mom is not here to be celebrated for the beautiful woman she was. And it makes me feel alone, like every other person out there must be buying a gift and going to a Sunday brunch with red roses on the table.

I know I’m not the only one who will grieve my mother this Mother’s Day—there are some daughters (and sons) who will struggle through this coming holiday, trying to understand why their mother is no longer here.

If you’re reading this and your mother is gone, I understand.

My Mom died eight years ago and still, with every sign, every advertisement, every empty card I know I won’t be filling, my heart aches in her absence.

If I could write her a card, I wouldn’t scribble thanks for being the best mom in the world I love you so much, like I probably did in all the previous ones from my teenage years.

Instead I’d write the most important thing: that I know she’s never gone, I know she’s never far—that I know a mother’s love could never leave.

This is something I only learned recently, when I became a mother myself last April.

This Mother’s Day will be different because I’m not just motherless, but a mother myself. That gives me a reason to celebrate this day once again—to celebrate the woman and mother I’ve become, even without her here.

She’s alive and well when I look at my baby. I can feel how she must’ve felt when she was loving my three siblings and I. And a love that powerful never dies.

So if your mother isn’t here this May, remember you are not alone.

Remember that she’s with you, laced in and through your own children, loving them as she continues to love you, even if she never got the chance to meet them.

Honor the mothering qualities she taught you, the traditions she started, and the passed-down mannerisms of hers that you still habit.

Hold her in your heart just a little bit more, and understand that she’s everywhere, even if you can’t take her to that fancy Sunday brunch with red roses.

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