Mother’s Day, buying a card

It was at least twenty year ago on Mother’s Day. I stood in one of the many card aisles of a store like Target, or K-Mart, staring at the denuded rack of cards.  Panicked-looking men grabbed at what was left, opening the cards quickly, scanning, and then hurrying away for the checkout area. I was angry.  My card would arrive late, of course.  It took five days or more to go from SoCal to Missouri. Angry at myself for leaving the card choosing until too late, angry that there were so many cards covered with lacy hearts and flowers and bows and sick-making cutesey things.  

I grew angrier.  Why wasn’t there a plain-looking card?  Why not a card with a picture of the ocean on it, or snow, or perhaps just a simple tree? Did all moms love hearts?  Some people liked the ocean better than pink and decorated fluff items created by Hallmark. 

I scanned the card titles. 

     You are the Best Mother ever!

     World’s Best Mom!

     You are the greatest most fantastic Mother in the Universe!

     I thank the Lord daily for the blessing that is YOU, Mother dear!

I wanted to barf.  None of these were appropriate for the person who was now my mother. Words came out of my mouth, anger at this commerical insistence of stupid, sappy cards. I grabbed one and waved it at the man next to me.

“These are all wrong — none of these say the right things!”

The man eyed me warily.  I grabbed another. 

“Why don’t they have any cards that say, ‘Dear mom, it’d be nice if you could actually read this.’?"

He edged away, his eyes big, the whites showing. I grabbed another.

“Why don’t they have cards that say, ‘I’m so sorry you’re losing your mind, and that you won’t even know who this is from.’?  Or, ‘Dear Mom, I wish I could say so many things that are now impossible to say'?  Why?  Why are the cards SO STUPID?!”

I kicked the bottom of the display, crying now.  

The man slipped away.

Because they don’t have cards for Alzheimer’s or dementia.  Or for the grief that comes from knowing the person who will receive the card will have to have the card read by a nurse. The grief that comes from knowing the card will be propped up on a shelf, uncomprehended, with a line of other uncomprehended cards.

Mom died May 16th, 2012.  She hadn’t spoken in years.

I miss that she’ll never see any plays I’ve written. I miss the dances in the living room as she pounded out Scott Joplin on the piano, or one of the many boogie-woogie tunes she played. I miss the giant sweaters she knitted (she claimed she didn’t need a pattern, never mind that the sweaters were sometimes dress length). I sometimes even miss the terrible cooking. I miss the really good desserts and homemade treats (eclairs, lemon meringue pies, brownies, strawberry jam).

They should have a rack of cards for this.  

Cards that say, “I love you, and I wish you could know it.  And I’m sorry that your mind is gone. And that you’ve been missed so much, for so many years.”  

The cards should let you say, “I miss the you I once loved.” 

© moje wetzork studios 2016