Wilmington resident Brenda McDonald will greet Motherís Day with a smile and a new bright red geranium as she has done for more than a decade as a special tribute to her mother, Doris Fulmer.
Though her mother passed away in 1999, McDonald said she still celebrates Motherís Day, because of how Fulmer observed the day.
ďItís one of the more important days, because of how special my mom made it for me as a daughter. From the moment I was born, she told me that she asked God for a little girl just like me Ö she let me know how special I was and she used Motherís Day to acknowledge that,Ē McDonald said on Monday, May 6.
Each year McDonald said her mother would send her a card expressing those endearing and loving thoughts up until her final days as a patient of the Lower Cape Fear Hospice and LifeCare Center, about one month before Motherís Day.
ďThat first Motherís Day was very challenging for me, to say the least,Ē McDonald said.
After her motherís death, McDonald said that she went through family grief counseling, which is offered to hospice family members up to one year after a patientís death, as well as short term counseling to those not cared for by hospice.
McDonald said that she was advised to deal with her grief head on, especially during special holidays, by finding ways to best honor her mother and who she was.
ďOne of my childhood memories of my mom was that she was a gardener and she loved red geraniums,Ē she said.
Since that first Motherís Day, McDonald has planted new geraniums annually, which are displayed prominently on her patio for her to see as she walks outside or stands by her kitchen window every day.
ďSo, Iíve grown a lot of red geraniums over the years,Ē McDonald laughed.
ďI look at them and smile, because it reminds me of all the good things from my childhood and the cards she used to send me and it just helps me get through Motherís Day with a smile on my face,Ē she said.
Though McDonald admits that she didnít always smile through her grief, Motherís Day is a time she chooses to remember and cherish the moments she had with her mother, especially those final words of love from mother to daughter.
ďIn those final weeks she looked at me and said, Ďyou know that Iíve been the best momma that I knew how to be to you,í and I looked at her and said that Iíve been the best daughter that I knew how to be,Ē McDonald said.
ďAnd we just smiled at each other and thatís something that Iíll remember forever.Ē