When I was growing up, I thought my mum was the most beautiful mother in the world!  I would sit in our bathroom, cross-legged on a white fluffy stool and gaze at her as she applied her make-up. I was fascinated, watching her dip her cosmetic brush into the sink water, then she’d dab the brush into her charcoal Estee Lauder eye shadow and transform her deep set eyes into a picture of glamour.   And when I got older, we’d share a glass of wine together in that same bathroom as we groomed ourselves, swapped clothes and talked about life.

Mum never left the house without her strawberry blonde hair curled, her elegant high heels on and apricot lipstick. And when she graced a room, you noticed her. She smelt sweet, always wafting in Youth Dew perfume that infused into her clothing and permeated her skin.  That smell made me feel so safe.

The dreaded Mother’s Day is sneaking up on me.  And anyone who is missing a loved one, be it their mother or their baby will understand when I say dreaded.

You can’t avoid it, the happy advertisements are everywhere.  Even my in-box isn’t a sacred place anymore as email after email arrive announcing gift ideas…for example, from United Airlines – “Last minute gifts for your Mom — and my Facebook friends are changing their profile photos for smiling ones with their alive mothers! Even bloody Von’s supermarket’s flyer is covered in adverts of beautiful bouquets and Hershey’s chocolates “For Your Mom!”

Well what do we mum-less people do?  Or we mums who are missing our child? Or mums that desperately want a child?  You can’t hide!  It’s another hard day on the calendar to face each year. One of my hardest. It’s a bittersweet day and I’m trying not to let my mind wander.

Savannah made me a mother.  I was totally unprepared for the immediate love that enveloped me the moment I saw her.  And Dempsey, my joy, will help me to survive another Mother’s Day with her pampering kisses and her ability to anchor my heart.  However, my Mother’s Day hurts….my grief gets magnified….and while I do try hard not to let the pain get a grip on me, this week I’ve been weeping a lot.

On Sunday, I’ll miss Savannah and I’ll miss hearing Mum’s voice.  My mother, who was always smiling and positive.  She shaped my character…and while she never said, “Here are the tools Diana, I will teach you”… she led by example, with her passion for living and her encouraging philosophy on life.

I have to be thankful for having known her at all!  I am brutally aware that my sister’s twin daughters will never appreciate that exquisite moment when your mother transfers all her love into you in a hug. Nobody else gives that unconditional love that your mother can.

How does anyone else on this earth replace that?   How do we get through a Mother’s Day without missing the magic that is your Mum?   Well I don’t think you do.  I think you get through it the best way you can and hope, if you are lucky enough to have a child, or a husband, or a friend, or someone, that will make you feel special….then through your tears, smiles will emerge, which are food for your spirit and help remind you all is not lost.

When I was a little girl, Mum would wrap me up in her arms on her lap and say, “How did I get so lucky to get you!  You could’ve gone to some other mother!” And I find myself saying this now to Dempsey, who giggles and says “Muuummyyy!” and hugs me tighter.

So on Sunday, I’ll try to channel my mother’s magic into me.  And hopefully, set a fine example for my daughter…..to give Dempsey tools that she may need one day.  I know my mum lives on through me, as Savannah lives on through Demps and Tarnia will always be around with her four beautiful children.

I rarely smell my Mum’s Youth Dew perfume anymore.  Its’ an old fragrance.  However, a few days ago, at our friend Michelle’s house, her sweet mother welcomed me with a hug. And as I embraced her, my sense’s stirred. I realized she was wearing Mum’s perfume, and it was comforting!  I held her for just a few moments longer than I should have. and just for a second, I imagined she was Mum.

Diana Doyle 2011

Diana Doyle

Diana Doyle lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Peter, and her six-year-old daughter Dempsey. Their daughter Savannah was born in 1999. She was diagnosed with Metachromatic Leukodystrophy, which is similar to Lou Gehrig’s disease at the age of two-and-a-half. She died at age four. Since then, Diana has been speaking and writing in hopes of helping others who are dealing with losses of all kinds.

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