Personal Public Service Announcement: Mother’s Day

Late-March into May is a difficult time for me. It’s when my e-mail accounts (personal and professional) slowly become flooded with Mother’s Day prompts. Last year, I deleted roughly sixty companies from my regular list because it was obnoxious and triggering. I wish I’d deleted more. This year, I almost certainly will do my best to thin the herd a bit further. As I began typing, several e-mails popped up on two separate accounts. Bye-bye Edible Arrangements. 

If you’re new, allow me to explain… I lost both of my parents within five months of each other. I am a Motherless Daughter.

At the start of this year, I lost everything I owned. That’s not an exaggeration, either. Someplace, somewhere, someone has my incredibly expensive underwear, 99.9% of my jewelry, and everything I held incredibly dear, family photos being at the top of my list. So the constant e-mail reminders about Mother’s Day and articles with headlines like, “What Your Mother Would Love This Mother’s Day!” are merely reminders of the missing pieces of my soul. I do NOT need additional reminders; I live with the pain every single day of my life.

On any given day, it is quite common for friends or relatives to mention their mothers or families to me. I don’t think anything of it; it’s normal conversation. Several, like me, lost their mothers way too early and they understand my pain, just as I understand theirs. Others are dealing with aging and/or sick parents and I understand their frustration, exhaustion, and all the things that accompany the caregiver/caretaker role many of us take on, whether we realize it or not. We are the ones who work so much harder than anyone else realizes, and at least in my case, people let it be known that they disapproved. All of those people can go to hell. 

Those who so clearly take their parents for granted piss me off. They are the ones who don’t realize that not everyone’s parents can drop everything and come running, especially from out of state. Some people’s parents actually work for a living. Not everyone’s parents can walk your dog four times a day, babysit for you, rush your sick pet to the vet because you can’t leave work, or drop everything and suddenly appear on your doorstep “just because”. If you are a member of what I’ve just described, you don’t have permission to talk. Those are my rules. Yes, I am serious. You are not on my wavelength. One day you will be, but not now. 

Twice in the past seven months a friend has said, “Oh, I’m so sorry. You must hate me because I still have a mother.” The first time I blew it off; My friend meant absolutely NOTHING by it. She was not trying to be cruel in the least. The second time, I was DEEPLY offended and wanted to knock the person’s head clean off their shoulders with an extremely sharp sword. Their comment involved an insinuation which revolved around jealousy, thus my reaction. I mean, my jaw was almost on the floor listening to what was said. I assure you I do not feel jealousy in the least. I don’t want someone else’s mother. That is completely preposterous and downright laughable. My mother? You cannot compete with her or replace her, and so few of you knew her, so please shut the fuck up.

Social media, at times, is a breeding ground for showing off. If I share something, please be assured that I am in no way “showing off”. That’s not who I am. On occasion, a friend or loved one will do something amazingly kind/loving for me and I’ll think twice about sharing it. I ask myself, “Is this appropriate?”, “Is this going to hurt someone’s feelings?”, “What is my intent by sharing this?” I give it deeper thought before I share; I don’t just post and pretend life is perfect. I write about very real subject matter, and my Instagram account is chock full of honesty, humor, outrage, thought-provoking moments, and little to no ego. I’m not there to collect “likes” and I don’t buy my followers. I’m just a girl living her life the best way she knows how. I actually removed this site (and my beauty blog) from Instagram because I wanted to be more careful about who was reading my work. I want the right audience for the topics I cover.     

My public persona and my personal life remain incredibly detached from one another. Very few people know the following things: What I look like. My middle name. Exactly where I was born. The names of my parents and/or brother. The names of my cats. My dreams, goals, hopes. My phone number. What’s going on in my personal life, and/or what my plans are for the future. Simply put, social media is not my online journal. I’m not stupid. I’ve talked about boundaries before and they’re CRUCIAL on social media, as well. You may be curious, but that does not mean I owe you an answer or an explanation.

On a regular basis, people make assumptions about me. If I don’t answer someone immediately in the language they’re speaking to me in, I get to hear a derogatory comment that isn’t worthy of a response. Just because someone says it does not mean it is worth repeating. 

Once I’d established myself as a writer, I was informed that I came off as “cocky” and “evasive”. Absolute strangers asking deeply personal questions on a daily basis and somehow I was wrong or “rude” for not answering them. That’s not how real life works. I don’t go up to strangers and ask for a full run down of their life, nor would I ever expect anyone to provide me, a stranger, with such information.

We live in a world where information is bought and sold, and traded. Not everything needs to be discussed or publicized. Sometimes people in my life do outrageously ridiculous things and all I can think is, “When did you become a Kardashian?” Facebook, in particular, needs an eye-roll button. In my case, this means “snoozing” a person every 30 days. Sad, but true. I don’t want my feed flooded with nonsense.

I digress, but I’m sure you get the gist of what I’m saying.

Losing my mother was like losing a limb. It still is, and the things people say to me are beyond heartless.

“I can’t believe you’re still alive. I’d just DIE without my mother.” Really? One day you’ll be faced with the loss and I am sure you will find a way to survive, I think, but don’t say. Those who ignore your pain and keep talking are just as bad as those who say stupid shit.

When I lost my parents, no one understood how much of a toll it took on me. I had been doing things for others for over 80% of my life, maybe more. Each loss was skipped over, because very few people cared. I have never had time to truly grieve or to focus on my own life because up until recently, I was still very much in the caregiver/caretaker role. Due to caring for my parents, I missed two of my graduations, said “No.” even more than I do now, and have had to come to grips with the fact that I don’t matter to a lot of people. Surprisingly, I am okay with that. Loss shows you who is true and who is fake, and 98% of people turned out to be more than fake. Little of it was a shock to the system.

The first Mother’s Day without my Mom was hard. I remember waiting until late in the day before going grocery shopping with sunglasses on, because I felt terribly raw, vulnerable, and I was determined not to break down in public. Turns out, I was completely invisible to others. No one spoke to me, acknowledged my presence, and not a single person who knew what I was going through called to check on me. Not much has changed. I was then faced with having my parents unveiling soon after. Only five family members showed up. 

This year, I was about to make an appointment when I realized it was on Mother’s Day. Under normal circumstances, I might have included one or two other people so I wouldn’t feel dreadful/completely alone, but I knew these people would want to spend the day with their mothers/children and one in particular is not someone I want to be around at all, so I changed the date of the appointment. Yes, it felt inconvenient as hell, but it was for the best. I put my earbuds in, was able to blast music, and power through it. I don’t have to listen to people’s plans, stories, etc. I can be inside my head and lately, that is both a dangerous, and sometimes safe, place to be. But if is healthier than having a holiday and the loss shoved down my throat like a million razor blades.

I sat and thought about the people in my life, the potential “mother figures”, and realized they are either deceased or do not exist at all. I understand not wanting the responsibility of motherhood, but some people don’t even want to be decent women. I’m not sure which is more disturbing to me (it’s the latter, definitely).

One thing people don’t seem to understand about me is that I am NOT a “cat mother”. Last time I checked, I was fur-free and without a tail. I am an owner, a nurturer, but I am not 50% of their genetic make-up. A few people are deeply offended when I say, “I have cats. They are not my ‘fur kids'”, but it is the truth. They may not see it that way, but that is their issue, not mine.

Yes, I commonly greet them by saying “Hello babies, Mommy’s back.” or “Girls, I’m home.” They are responding to the sound of my voice, not the words I use. I talk to them like people because they’re far more intelligent and because they actually listen, but they are not a “child replacement”, which is true for many who openly admit it. Just because I can keep two cats alive and fed does not mean I don’t want more in my life. It’s a positive sign, but let’s keep it honest, shall we?

I am not a “crazy cat lady” walking around in cat related attire, nor am I someone who is covered in cat hair. I jokingly chase them for cuddles and refer to them as “My property” (Say it like, “My PRECIOUSSSSS!”), which, according to insurance documentation, is exactly what pets are considered. They run from this, especially Cat, but it gives me a giggle. I like my cats. I love them. They’re very good friends and great companions, but yours are questionable. I don’t just go up to other people’s cats, obviously.

So tomorrow, when you’re celebrating or dealing with heartbreak, like I am, keep in mind that there are people in pain; they are not celebrating and don’t care to see you show off on social media when they are suffering. Don’t trigger them the way I’ve been triggered for the past few months.   

 copyright © 2019 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity, LLC. ALLTS RESERVED. Written work by author may not be shared or posted anywhere without express written consent from the author. Excerpts and quotes from the material also require consent. This authors’ work and personal photos are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws. Further protection is under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

The Countdown

Every year, usually around mid-April, is the countdown reminder from every company I’ve ever done business with, or might do business with in the future, that Mother’s Day is fast approaching. Last year, it angered me to the point where I unsubscribed from about 20-30 different mailing lists. I just couldn’t take it any more. The e-mails were daily. Daily. Sometimes, there were three or four a day. How much more business do these people need to drum up?! Was it a slow year?!

This year, Mother’s Day falls out on the day when I normally do my big grocery shopping, which requires hitting three different stores, usually, to acquire everything on my detailed list (which I usually organize by store, so I don’t forget anything major). If I keep my head down and I just focus on that list, I should be able to avoid as much of the hoopla as possible, but the pain in my heart will never go away.

There have been years where I couldn’t even get out of bed at the mere thought of facing other people on Mother’s Day. And the worst part is; Few people acknowledge this or discuss it. I refuse to be one of those people.

It’s unbelievably rude when people dismiss your feelings, especially in regard to something like this. When someone tells you to “get over it”, it might actually be wise to consider the source and/or re-think your relationship with that person. Being dismissive of someone’s pain, be it physical, mental, or emotional, is never acceptable.

Being a Motherless Daughter is painful. There is this enormous piece of me missing, and I assure you; no one gives a damn. No one else’s life stopped after my mother’s death, no one else mourns her daily, and that makes it so much worse in my eyes.

I remember how I felt at her funeral. I probably know her eulogy by heart because I only had a few days to write it, but every word was from the heart. I did her proud. I try to keep making her proud every day of my life.

The things I could talk about with my Mom are now things no one else on this planet would understand. Instead of having a person laugh with me and enjoy my insight and sense of humor, I am criticized for having a sense of humor that others do not understand or appreciate. Technically, that’s their problem, not mine. There are so many times I want to tell her about something going on, and I can’t. I know she is looking down on everything happening in my life and is now the “All-Seeing Eye”, but I really hope she sees how I am being treated and the character of others. I hope she sees and does not forget.

My mother always taught me to forgive, but never to forget. “Forgive for yourself,” she’d say, “So you don’t have to carry the hurt and allow it to harm you, but don’t EVER forget.” Forgiveness has become downright impossible in the wake of her passing and other terrible things that have occurred since that fateful day. There are always things you can never un-hear, un-see, un-learn, etc. There’s far too much you cannot forget. My mother was a nice, kind, caring person. I’m not all that nice and my kindness and ability to care is limited.

My Mom used to tell people she couldn’t remember what she wore two days ago, but that “My daughter remembers EVERYTHING.” My short-term memory is shit, but my long-term memory is eerily accurate. So you can question me, but don’t, for a single second, try telling me I’m wrong. I’m many things, but wrong isn’t one of them (I have a key-chain that says that verbatim.). Not when it comes to most things. And I openly admit when I am wrong, which many people won’t ever do.

Last year, right around the start of this month, is when my blackouts began (at least I’m pretty sure that’s when they started. In fairness, it took a few months before I was aware that I had lapses in time each day.). Is it somehow tied in to my mother’s passing and all the other death that has effected my life in the month of May? It’s possible. I have an appointment at the beginning of next month and I will certainly ask the doctor if he thinks it’s a possibility. If it’s not something triggering me, then it is something neurological, and that’s even scarier to me. I doubt an MRI will show damage, but psychologically, I suspect it’s a form of trauma manifesting itself.

I wish there was a measure of sensitivity surrounding this subject, but there really isn’t. I can attend the local Motherless Daughter event, or I can stay put and mourn on my own. I don’t think I can actually focus on other people’s stories at the moment, so it’s probably best I just isolate myself, except for the fact that I am ALWAYS isolated and alone. The effort I put forth not to be is always slapped down, always insulted, and is never good enough. The more negativity I hear, the more triggered I become. Someone might think they’re paying me a compliment, but I know an insult when I hear one. I’m NOT stupid, and I will walk away or disengage when a person is acting like an asshole or just plain being disrespectful.

One of the reasons people like and respect me is because I’m always the same person. Whether it’s on the phone, in a letter or e-mail, interacting on-line, or when you meet me or spend time with me; I don’t change. What you see and read is precisely what you get. I’ve had friends tell me precisely how much they enjoy that and respect it because they never have to worry how I am going to be because I’m always myself. When my friends spend time with me, they don’t understand why anyone wouldn’t love me. I am most at ease and most myself when I am with them. I wish they didn’t all live so far away, but I do have a very close friend visiting next month from California and I am SO excited to spend time with her! We met through my writing, as well as hers, and have been friends for five years. It seems like a much longer time period because of the bond between us, and I’m really looking forward to whatever adventures we get to share. Right now, having something to look forward to is all I’ve got. I don’t really know what I will do after she goes home. 😦 I do know I will miss her, though.

I might not write anything on Sunday this year, and if I don’t, I hope everyone will understand why. I might reblog something I’ve written in the past if I have the time to search, but if I am silent, I hope no one will take it personally.

I am still recovering from last week’s Urgent Care visit for my migraines. My IV “wound” is nearly healed, but I learned my lesson in regard to how to handle this horrible pain from here on in. I hope the neurologist I see is a good one and that he will have answers for me. I’ve been doing extensive research to make sure I go in armed with information to try and come up with a plan that we can both agree on.

And so, the countdown begins. On the plus side, I’m glad to be writing in a successful, productive way. For those of you who’ve been super supportive of this project (Lillian & Steven), please know how much it means to me.

Have a lovely Friday, everyone!

copyright © 2017 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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A Letter To My Mom

I lost my Mom eight years ago, a week after Mother’s Day. I spent years dealing with people’s attitudes towards the fact that I was there for my Mom through degenerative disc disease and all that came with it health-wise. People thought I should have put myself first, but I know in my heart that by being present for her, I was the daughter she raised me to be. In turn, I can hold my head up high and know that no matter what, I’m a piece of her and she is forever a piece of me.

Happy Mother’s Day to every type of Mom.

Exhausted To The Bone

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I went to bed exhausted, I woke up more exhausted than when I originally went to bed. Lately, there never seems to be enough sleep. I found myself wanting to nod off for four hours yesterday, but when I finally committed myself to “a nap”, I ended up reading for over three hours. I hadn’t planned on reading at all, I simply thought if I started reading something nonsensical, I’d make myself even sleepier. It was counter-intuitive.

I think the stress of the week and of many, many months has finally hit me today. I have absolutely no desire to do anything. I just want to rest. My brain is tired, my body is tired, and you can only ignore your body for so long before exhaustion catches up with you and doesn’t let go. That is definitely chronic fatigue.

My brain is barely working to form complete sentences properly. I have dueling issues. My stomach is telling me that we’re hungry and should try making some soup. My brain is saying that the soup can wait because if we’re not properly rested, we will burn the house down. I got distracted last weekend when I had something in the oven. I set the timer and instead of staying within a 15 foot range of the kitchen, I walked upstairs to check my phone. I went to check e-mail quickly or something, but then I got into texting with someone and the next thing I know, the timer is going off and there’s a slight smoky smell rising. I was also doing laundry, so clearly I was pulling myself pretty thin. Sadly, I didn’t hear the timer, which is quite scary. When I did go downstairs because the smell wasn’t right, I finally heard the timer and felt like a complete and utter moron. On top of being dangerous, I was just plain out of it. Now I stay close by, because the last thing I should be doing is something that could lead to the harm of myself or others. I’m too drained to be able to leave something alone while I’m in the middle of making it, and right now I’m truly too drained to actually make something. I don’t even think I’m capable of walking down the steps.

This Sunday is Mother’s Day, so don’t be alarmed if I make myself extremely scarce. This is an incredibly difficult time of year for me. Each year, I’m reminded that I am a Motherless Daughter. One year I waited until the day settled and went grocery shopping that night, because all I wanted to do was avoid the mother/daughter bonding that this weekend brings forth. If you haven’t experienced this kind of loss, or the kind of bond I shared with my mother, it’s not something one can easily relate to, so I tend to just close up shop for about 10 days and keep my mouth shut, lest I somehow manage to offend someone with my honesty and/or directness. Ultimately, there is always someone who will find me offensive in some way. It’s not my issue, it’s theirs, but I don’t want or need the drama.

So in advance, I wish ALL mothers: Pet mothers, Grandmothers, Godmothers, Aunts, and especially single mothers a very happy day. I’ll be okay, but if you can’t find me I MIGHT be sitting in the dark with chocolate pudding.

copyright © 2015 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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