This Mothers Day will be the first one I observe without my mother.

My mother, Barbara Hawkins Butzgy, passed away July 11 from complications of Parkinson’s disease.

Mothers Day is considered one of the big “greeting card” holidays. Every television and radio ad painfully reminds me that May 13 will be soon upon us and that I won’t be able to give my mother another greeting card, a bouquet of flowers or some chocolates for her special day.

Many times when traumatic events happen in your life, you feel so alone but find many others have felt the same way. It made me think, ‘What do people do on Mothers Day when they’ve lost their mothers?’

When I want to know about any topic, I ‘look it up,’ something both my parents instilled in me. I found a blog written by Sharilee Swaity from Winnipeg, Canada. In her blog, “Mother’s Day for Those Who’ve Lost Their Mom” at, she writes “Mother’s Day can be painful, or poignant or perhaps both for those who lost their mother. Whatever emotions we had towards her, during her life on earth, do not go away. The relationship does not end, because the love does not stop. Love never dies.”

Swaity lists ways to continue honoring your mother such as doing something that you and your mother did when she was alive and spending time with others who knew your mother.

I thought of another way to honor my mother … to share with others what she taught me while she was here. So here are three of many lessons I learned from my mother.

It’s okay to let your ‘inner child’ out. My mother and I enjoyed making up silly stories, laughing out loud and playing with various stuffed animals. I can remember times when she and my brothers and I would laugh so hard, my younger brother would snort water out of his nose. That would make us laugh even harder. I also noticed it was her way to relieve stress from everyday life.

Never do a job halfway. When I was 8, I started to do chores around the house. I hated them, so I didn’t always do a good job. My mother said to me “If you’re going to do it halfway, don’t do it at all.” Most 8-year olds would take her words as ‘I don’t have to do the chore then!’ However, my mother didn’t stop there, she showed me how always doing your best could be very rewarding from small things like chores to more meaningful endeavors like finishing college. She went back to school at age 46 to pursue a degree in paralegal studies and graduated with straight As.

Be kind to others. My mother always ‘adopted’ our friends, counseled them or just listened to their troubles as if they were her own children. She also greeted everyone with a big hello and didn’t know many strangers. She loved to feed people with wonderful desserts and casseroles. She felt everyone would be happier on a full stomach.

These and other lessons I learned from my mother have helped shape me into the person I am today. Although I do not have children of my own, I try to live by what my mother taught me and share those lessons with my friends and Family. I hope people will see my example the same way I saw hers. In that way, I feel as if she is still here beside me, continuously guiding me.