This is my second mother’s day knowing that my mother has a terminal illness which not only stealing her life, but stealing her brain piece by piece. Last mother’s day, I ignored the day completely. Which is pretty easy when you don’t watch tv as long as you also stay off facebook and away from Hallmark stores.

This year I am trying to not do that. But how can I explain how difficult it is to ‘celebrate’ mother’s day? If my mother had died, I could celebrate what an amazing mother she was. If my mother were still herself, I could celebrate what an amazing mother she is. But instead, my mother is here, but not herself. Not the woman who raised me. Do I celebrate the woman who was here? Do I grieve her loss? Do I try to embrace the person who is here? Certainly, you would hope that I could and would right? But I don’t know how to feel about my mother who is here now. She is more like my child than my mother.

In case you were wondering, there is no Hallmark card for, I love you always, you raised me well, and I am doing my best to take care of you now. They all say, like, to my mother who still teaches me everything, etc etc. Where is the card that recognizes sometimes mothers stop teaching, stop being the caregiver, just stop?

I want to tell you something happy. So I’ll tell you some things that celebrate what my mother was to me. She was tough. She expected the best of me, and she told me when I wasn’t measuring up. She wouldn’t let me play softball with the girls my age because she didn’t think I was good enough. She expected good grades and shows of leadership. But as tough as she was on me in some ways, she would never let anyone ever in the world say anything negative about her kids. She was always talking us up to anyone she met. And as tough as she was, you know, I turned out pretty good. She made me work hard, she made me meet my potential.

She treated me like a grown up with thoughts worthy of conversation from the beginning of my life. We used to lay in bed before kindergarten (mine, not hers), me just talking and her listening and agreeing or laughing. She treasured me.

I am really very sad when I think about the fact that we missed out on closeness I think we might have now. Maybe we would never be best friends. We are very different people. And my parents did not raise me to share the difficult emotions. But as I spun away from her in my teenage years, I was starting to spin back in my twenties. We were going to have an adult relationship. But then she started getting sicker; losing the car, losing herself in the car, losing herself in the neighborhood. We can’t have the relationship that we should have been able to grow. And it’s my loss. Because my mother, she was amazing.