The Fucking Firsts

Art by Adrienne

Art by Adrienne

My mother is still alive, a great blessing, though no easy thing for her.  Even healthy, being 91 takes a lot of courage — all the losses, the disobedient body that keeps getting older, the inevitable contraction of life as energy and mobility shrink.

But this is the first Mother’s Day without a mother for a number of people I love.  My kids and I called each approaching milestone in the year after losing Eric “another fucking first.”  Father’s Day, my birthday, our anniversary, the High Holidays, his birthday, Passover and then the first year was done, we were on to the sucky seconds.

The firsts are tough.  There’s all the navigation of the hole the missing person has left, “the space we leave behind” as my sister Chris said.  She asked us all to try not to miss her, to let life keep coming in to our hearts and not be worried about our love for her being pushed aside.  Because there’s room for all of it.

But there isn’t another mother for her sons, or for the baby who lost her mother just over a week ago, or for lots and lots of people I care about who’ve lost their mothers, many of them much younger than any of us think is fair.

Chris and Eric both believed fairness has nothing to do with it.  Shit happens, destructive cells get a foothold and go wild and bring down a healthy body, we lose people we love.

To all the people I love having a fucking first today, I’m sorry.  The first year can be so hard.  But you’ll get to the seconds and then the thirds and incredibly the tenth one day. And beyond, but today I’m thinking about the firsts and tenths. Ten still hurts but a whole lot less.

Onward.

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About Grace Mattern

Grace Mattern is a poet, writer, mother, grandmother, partner, friend, family member, gardener, triathlete, hiker and for 30 years was the Executive Director of the NH Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. She resigned her position at the Coalition on June 15, 2011 in order to concentrate on her writing, while continuing to engage in the movement to end violence against women as a consultant and advisor. Her chapbook Fever of Unknown Origin was published in 2001 and her full-length poetry book The Truth About Death was published in 2012.
This entry was posted in Grief, Life Changes, Moving On. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The Fucking Firsts

  1. naahn says:

    Times like these, I wish you weren’t such a good writer. So tender and loving, it’s obvious you have an intimate relationship with grief, and though I was sad today, I was ok, until I read this! Thank you for including us, for doing this.

  2. nancy durborow says:

    Yep!

  3. Antoinette Purinton says:

    You speak so well for so many.💕

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