Santa Monica, CA – Just got an email from Peets Coffee alerting me that today is the Last Day to Order Mother’s Day Gifts with Free Shipping!
There is no Reply function available to this email, but if there were, I would send the following response:
My mother is dead. Your email wounds me!
And so it goes every May with endless emails from Home Depot, florists, and airlines, each proclaiming all these deals that are perfect for Mom!
Meanwhile, my Mom has been off-planet for 33 years.
Yet, that doesn’t stop Apple who insists via email that I should Celebrate Mom with Apple Gifts! Or American Airlines who wishes me to Earn Miles this Mother’s Day with Teleflora!
Or, Delta Airlines, who reminds me that Gifts for Mom Means More Miles For You! Or Dell Computers, who lets me know that You Know Mom Best, so Surprise Her with Our Gift Guide!
These emails go on and on arriving daily at a feverish pace no less than 3-4 weeks prior to Mother’s Day. What is the point of Facebook or Cookies and Algorithms when these vendors clearly have the wrong guy?
Pain. Unintentional Pain.
Each mention of Mother’s Day, each year, is like a tiny pin-prick on my skin, reminding me that I do not belong to this social group, that I do not celebrate this holiday despite the fact that I am a frequent flyer on American and Delta and that I use a Dell computer.
For these reasons, I dread Mother’s Day.
At least, I used to dread Mother’s Day until I helped create the bizarro version for the Bereaved:
Dead Mother’s Day.
I found a very specific tribe of like-minded individuals who shared my twisted sense of humor while a student at The Groundlings, LA’s improvisational comedy troupe.
Sandy, Claudette, Eve, and our improv teacher, the late great Cynthia Szigeti and I gathered at my home in Santa Monica for years celebrating Dead Mother’s Day, which we dubbed DMD.
Our mothers were all In The Great Hereafter.
And yet, Society still inundated us with commercials and events imploring us to celebrate this once beloved holiday. Since we couldn’t take our Moms out to Brunch, my funny and smart friends and I got together and toasted them with champagne and/or mimosas:
To Rose, Maureen, Flora, Cora, and Frances Bond!
So much laughter. So much fun. And some Grief.
We got creative, too. Some years, we’d bring our Moms’ favorite records (Johnny Mathis!) or read the last letter we each received from them (freshman year of college!), or something equally memorable.
Some years, we’d bring new members, but our core group remained the five of us.
DMD was our way of saying to the world that celebrating Mother’s Day the traditional way does not work for us.
I am so sorry for your loss — that empty-sounding phrase that never really serves to comfort the bereaved became our hilarious mantra. At least, it was hilarious to Us.
Year after year, friends would ask me, kinda hesitantly, So you doin’ that weird Mother’s Day thing of Yours again this year?
Claudette, Sandy, Cynthia, Eve and I learned so much about one another by telling the Group about our respective Mothers: Who they were, how they lived, how they died. I learned to love these friends even more by learning about The Women Who Made Them.
Those were some really special Brunches, usually at my house on 3rd Street in Santa Monica, and usually with Fried Chicken on the Menu. Or Quiche. Or fresh Asparagus from the Main Street Farmer’s Market. And always with fresh Strawberries and Coffee Ice Cream and Coffee & Bailey’s and more Champagne. The party lasted hours.
Sharing Grief eases the burden of one’s grief.
I see that now. But what was great about these friends and our gatherings was that we shared Our Love for Our Mothers which, in some small way, was a means to honor them.
(And hey, isn’t that the point of Mother’s Day?)
My friends supported me when I couldn’t be in Los Angeles and host the annual DMD because I was in Kentucky caring for my elderly father. Some years, I was there, some years I wasn’t, but the beautiful thing that happened was that Dead Mother’s Day did happen whether I was there or not. Cynthia threatened to bring the group to Kentucky, to bring the party to me. DMD was that important to her.
We really created something special. Our Mother’s Day was more than just another Brunch. It was a Gathering that became bigger than any one person. So cool. Always, Cynthia was the great Champion of DMD. She absolutely loved it.
This year, 2017, my friends and I are not gathering together at my house.
Eve is doing a play. Claudette now lives in the South of France and just finished writing her first novel.
Sandy works remotely running an international screenwriting competition and is living in Connecticut.
And Cynthia, our greatest friend, professional cheerleader and teacher, passed away in 2016 at the age of 65 after several years of struggling with Pulmonary Fibrosis.
Of course, I miss Cynthia dearly, but I don’t grieve for her.
Instead, I envision she’s in Heaven having a mimosa with her own mother, Rose, whom I know she loved more than any other, and that Cynthia has more than likely gathered all of our mothers for their own heavenly version of Dead Mother’s Day.
To Claudette, Sandy, Eve and Steve!
They are singing as they clink their glasses and share stories about us amid gales of laughter with Cynthia’s laugh being the loudest and happiest.
So bring on those annoying emails urging me to Buy Something for Mom! I can handle it, and so can my mother-less friends.
We continue to be Sorry for Our Loss but we also continue to honor our Mothers who really do live on through Us.
Salute! Let’s brunch.
N E X T U P:
Back to Television. Pilot Season.