Mother’s Day was celebrated by many folks nearly two weeks ago, and for me it was a bit easier than the last few ones following my Mom’s passing in October 2015. This time around, I didn’t take the radio, television and social media ads plying us with what we should give our moms for Mother’s Day as personally. I still found them annoying and unnecessarily frequent as Sunday May 12 approached, yet relieved when the day ended not feeling emotionally worn out as in previous years.

Maybe that’s what the gift of time and perspective illuminates for us: that it’s worthwhile to honor and celebrate the ones we love, but something we can do on our own terms, period. We can do that without feeling guilty, conflicted, or induced by ad campaigns that kick into high gear for occasions such as this one.. We can define for ourselves what we choose to do or not do and owe no one an explanation, excuse or reason for our actions.

One huge gift that has emerged since my Mom passed is my appreciation for everyone’s mother, no matter who they are and where they live. We’ve all come into this world through our moms, of course. From having been a lifelong advocate for Mother Earth over the years, I’ve come to see that I also have some, fierce, nurturing and protective instincts within me.

That’s massive to acknowledge and let it all sink in. It helps me empathize with what parents and families worldwide go through and feel from day to day. We all get up in the morning wanting the best for those we love and care about. Some days go swimmingly, while with others we hope that it’ll all somehow turn out for the best anyway.

Erik, his family members and I recently received the gift of his mom moving to Missoula from Helena in mid-April. She’s healthy, mobile and independently living in her own apartment with two cats as companions, and it’ll be easier for all of us to stay connected given that she’s 15 minutes rather than two hours away.

I’ve also been in closer contact with the parents of two long-time “brothers from another mother” in Virginia, Chris and his late brother Craig. For over 40 years, they’ve blended, overlapped, grown and changed alongside members of my biological family. Through that, we have all grown and established stronger, wider-ranging roots, with sturdier foundations and unshakable ties. At this point in life we all have loved and lost family members and friends, yet the spirit of those we’ve loved and lost live on, and that’s indeed a good thing, whether it’s Mother’s Day or any other day.

Two more things come to mind to share here before wrapping things up.

First, If you haven’t watched Stephen Colbert’s The Late Show interview with Keanu Reeves from earlier in May, be sure to catch their 10-minute conversation. Toward the end, Colbert unexpectedly asks Reeves what happens when people die, and his answer is surprisingly sweet and profound. I won’t spoil things here but check it out for a wonderfully fun, rambling and poignant conversation!

Second, following is a link to a wonderful new song from Brandi Carlile called “The Mother” to share with you in honor of mothers everywhere.  Enjoy!