Mother’s day without a mom


Keith Sandvall

Sandvall and her mom at a hot air balloon show in June 2009.

Jada Sandvall, Staff Writer

I hate Mother’s Day. A day dedicated to honoring the mother of a family. A day where teenagers post collages on their Instagram stories praising them for all they do. A day where families dress up, go to church and then to brunch. Just another holiday that everyone celebrates, right? No. For me, it is a day I dread every waking second of my life. 

I vividly remember last Mother’s Day. I spent all day locked up in my house in the midst of quarantine. Although it was a day dedicated to my mom, locking myself in my room and Facetiming friends was the only thing on my mind. Little did I know, only five months remained with this wonderful woman I called my mom. 

I now sit in front of my computer screen a year later, eyes raw after spending the day wiping away a mixture of sweat and tears. It was a typical Sunday playing volleyball like I did every other weekend of the spring; however, today felt different. Coaches told us to thank our moms for spending Mother’s Day in the gym but I did not have the luxury of thanking her. I realize today that I did not have the luxury of thanking her for many things, especially the little things. 

I think back to my seventh-grade self. A year where my mom coached me through what it was like to be the victim of mean girls. I vividly remember the day after school got out, we got in the car and drove until we reached a small ice cream shop in a random city. The purpose of this mini day trip was not for my mom to smother me with gifts but to show how proud she was of me. I still hear her voice every time I drive by the ice cream shop. “I am so proud of you. Over the past year, I have seen you stick up for yourself and never back down. I have seen you be the best version of yourself and someone I always hoped you would be some day.” Those words sting now but I know the utter pride and joy that she had since day one. 

My mom passed away seven months ago, yet the emotions still feel like the pins and needles I felt that cold October night when the words “Mom is gone” came out of my dad’s mouth. The aromas of her perfume lurk around the house, her clothes untouched and makeup unused. Some days, I lie in bed and think of what could have happened; others, I live like usual. 

Adults tell me every day that grief is another emotion of life, yet, they have been able to celebrate Mother’s Day with their loved ones for the past 50 years. I look at Mother’s Day as not only another obstacle in my grief process but a day to honor my amazing mom. That same amazing mom that made my lunch every day of middle school, drove me to the movies with my friends every weekend and always had my laundry folded for when I got home. 

One day, I look forward to telling my children about their wonderful, beautiful and intelligent grandmother who established such an amazing lifestyle for me. I could never put my gratitude for my mom into words but this yearly holiday reminds me of the type of woman who I hope to become one day. 

Holidays like these should not be the only time you tell your loved ones how much you love and appreciate them. Life is short, and one day, you will never get to say “I love you” or “I appreciate you” ever again. Do not take time for granted like I did last year. Love those around you and cherish the time you get to spend with them.