Recently I had a friend look at me and very innocently ask, “What do you do on Mother’s Day?”

Knowing that they absolutely meant it in the least hurtful, offensive, and most genuine way; I took a deep breath and I said “I go to the cemetery.”

Trying to keep the conversation short, sweet, and unemotional, I elaborated a little further to say that I’d probably pick up some flowers, and my siblings, so that I didn’t make the trip alone. But the further I thought into it, I really wondered…what should I be doing on Mother’s Day?

My immediate thought is that in the worst way, I want to be completely and totally alone. Not only because I know that I personally get very bitter, but also because for weeks leading up to this day there have been multitudes of advertisements about pampering the most important woman in your life…so every post, picture, flower, card, and song feels like the entire world is collapsing on top of my chest. The immense weight of Mother’s Day on someone whose mother is no longer in their life is a pain that I can only pray someone doesn’t have to experience. Sometimes daily life is too much to handle, never mind an entire day that is dedicated to spending it pampering and worshiping the ground that she walks on. Hell, I’ve been on a “Say Yes to the Dress” kick lately that has the power to break me down to a whimpering, blubbering, sobbing mess at any given point in time.

My next thought is that I absolutely, with every fiber of my being, do not want to be alone. On one hand I just want to be held, I want to cry, I want to ask why, and spend a decent amount of time loathing the fact that this life was chosen for me. On the other, I want to be distracted - I want to celebrate the mothers in my life that I know are the very reason for the existence of the people I love. I want to celebrate the women they are, the people they made, and their unwavering devotion to not only their families…but also to me.

You see, I’m a firm believer that when someone’s mother dies there is a very defined “before” and there is a completely different “after.” How you choose to deal with the “after,” is a task all your own. In the “before” I loved Mother’s Day; I loved going out and getting all of my favorite, strong, independent, mommas flowers, I loved seeing their faces light up, I loved being able to cook for my mom, paint her nails, and make her feel great about herself. I loved seeing my best friend’s mom and my god-mother gleam when I brought over their bouquets of flowers. In the “after” the sheer thought of walking into a florist, a grocery store, or even a Walmart over the next couple weeks makes me a little queasy. This year we approach the third Mother’s Day without my mother, and it will be the first one that I’ll be trying to half-participate in. Not because I feel like I’m obligated to after hiding from it, but because I want to. I want to be able to let these ladies know that their hard work is recognized not only on this day, but every day.

So, to anyone who wonders “What do you do on Mother’s Day?” - My answer is: Cemetery, and anything after that depends on how confident I’m feeling in my mental and emotional stability. But yes, I will still probably post a photo collage that will make you feel slightly uncomfortable.

If you’re lucky enough to be able to communicate with your mother whenever you want, remember to let them know you appreciate them this day, and every day.

Lastly, to anyone reading this who is in the “after,” Happy Mother’s Day to you, and to your momma. I know that you miss her just as much as I miss mine, too.