The fifth Mother’s Day without you

Grief is a crapshoot.

Then again, so is the fifth year of anything — a new home, a career, a marriage (presumably).

Mom’s fifth birthday beyond this realm last month felt like a bad hangover. The kind where you’re perpetually nauseous for eight to ten hours but not nearly enough to actually expel any of the toxins making a home out of your insides. The fifth anniversary of her death this fall will likely feel like a karate kick to the gut. The kind that does make you vomit.

The fifth Mother’s Day, though, is tricky.

Less than one-third of the day in, I’d say it’s sort of like a shower that won’t decide if it wants to be hot or if it wants to be the kind of cold that makes your shoulders touch your ears. There are moments of icy sting (like the first few dozen social media posts full of moms who’re still out there mothering or the influx of last minute Mother’s Day e-mails promoting everything from flowers to discounted patio furniture) and there are moments of lukewarm calmness (like deciding whether or not to take out the garbage) that meld together to make Mother’s Day just like any other shower, and just like any other Sunday.

The texts from loved ones still roll in, though, thankfully, with far less of a worried urgency than in years past. You insist on manning the morning coffee run instead of your significant other because, “Seriously love, I don’t mind.” There are no plans to be had, and it’s not because the thought of getting dressed and going outside is comparable to walking a mile on Legos barefoot. It’s just because you haven’t made any. And that’s okay.

Some years, Mother’s Day feels like a speed bump. Others, it is Everest.

This year feels somewhat like Mount Wycheproof, the smallest registered mountain in the world. Standing at just 486 feet somewhere in Australia, it is small and it is conquerable.

But it is a mountain, no less.

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