My Mother's Favorite Flowers

Traditionally, today is the day to celebrate mothers and all they have done for you, a special day if you will. In reality, mine and many others, it’s the day we are reminded of how truly different we are. We are the motherless.

Yes, it is expected that we will all lose our parents in our lifetimes, but I’m talking about those of us who lost ours prematurely. No, they didn’t get to meet grandkids or spouses, some didn’t get to see our weddings or even our graduations. Some, never even got to meet us at all. So for us, the ones without mothers, this day is like the world screaming at us, “Sod Off!” (‘scuse the language).

It goes without saying, I HATE MOTHER’s DAY, because it is the day I’m painfully aware of what I don’t have, as opposed to being aware of what I do have. I get forwards, newsletters, news updates, broadcasts, sermons and all sorts of things about mothers and their impact on life and all that jazz. I understand your joy in having a mother, and I do not wish to deny you that – but could you be sensitive to my pain of not having one? No? Ok, then please understand that I shall sleep and pretend today doesn’t exist.

My Story

I am the 3rd child of Valerie Marie Chang-King Cowan, a woman who, I’m told, could light up a room just by entering it. A woman who was loud, jovial, witty, saggacious, caring, focused and apparently enviable.

When I was born, my parents marraige was already in bad standing, by the time I was 2, they had split, when I was 4 or 5 my mother dropped us off at our Dad and left us there. She came by often visited, cooked octopus and herring, made sure we had a helper and sometimes became a terrorist to my future step-mother. Then she disappeared, moved to the US and we got phone calls. I remember being on the phone for my 10th birthday, just after receiving a ring in the mail for becoming “double digits” from her. Then one day, she just appeared. Back in Jamaica.

She lived in an apartment downtown, really nice place, but with criminal activities, comes criminal consequences. She then moved to Stony Hill, and found Jesus :) – then she found a home for us to live in, I was turning 12. We lived together and I was happy to be able to see both my parents.

No, it was not without it’s problems, but I was able to have something I could have only fantasized about up until then – my mom.

Fast forward to my 14th birthday, I had wanted a gourmet dinner (yes, I have always loved food) and I went to this amazing restaurant with my Mom, Uncle Carl, Aunty Glenor & Uncle Ameen. It was my day, I did only what I wanted and nothing that I didn’t want. So I skipped school, went shopping with Mommy and then dinner :) JOY! Of course, I had steak… this was the last night I spent with my mother. I went to school the next day and Daddy picked me up.

On Friday, February 28, 1992, (11 days after my 14th birthday) my mother was murdered. No, she did not “go gently into that good night”. She suffered – multiple stab wounds, some bodily mutilation and a slit throat. Thankfully, she died. I’m not sure if living through that would have been a good thing.

This one incident has coloured my world in more ways than I care to admit. It has affected how I view police, politics, people, love, society, family and even friendship. It was not until I had lost my mother, that I realised how much I needed her presence. Who was going to teach me about becoming a woman? or loving a man? or being loved by a God that I can’t see? Who would teach me to walk in heels? or apply make-up? or how to cook? Who would get me dressed for my wedding? or my graduation? or my Sweet 16? Who would teach me the culture of my ancestors? or their language? or why feet are so important? In truth, no one and everyone.

Do I still miss my mother after 19 years? Yes, every single day. Does it ever get easier to not have her around? Yeah, it does. Do I cry about it? Generally, no – but then there are days like this.

I would have gotten her these for her birthday

So to all my motherless friends, readers, hunny-bunnies out there – Happy Motherless Day! May it pass without incident, or outburst, or tears. I wish for us all, unending happiness and peace and a fountain of love to fill our lives with.

To my friends with Mommies, and who are Mommies, just please be gentle with us today. We are envious of your ability to celebrate someone we only wish we still had. We don’t hate you or want you to not celebrate your mom, just please don’t show off that you have one and we don’t.

To all, what are your feelings about today? Just a greeting card day? or a genuine time to give mom a break? a day of sleep? or a day of celebration?