This past week I had a visit with an old friend. We had a conversation about the difficulty of life after losing a parent. What it’s like to go on having experiences and major life moments with them not being there and able to share them with you. It got me to thinking…
My mother was a beautiful lady. She was sweet, loving and extremely strong. In all her sweetness you could still look into her eyes and see that she has seen pain. My mom had a tough life and always showed up with a smile on her face. For that, I will always be her greatest admirer.
I lost her in 2014 to Alzheimer’s. I still can’t believe that’s the thing that took her from me…from us. Thinking back it just feels like a dream. I didn’t have the tools to deal with it the way I wished I could have. She was really all that I had when she got sick. My father made the choice to stay away and unfortunately, my half siblings and I never established a close relationship with each other and in a lot of ways my mom was the glue for that. My mother’s immediate family lives overseas which was a fact that always saddened her. I think in some ways she would have hoped to make it back to them. Back to England.
Nevertheless, my mother always brought me comfort. She was my rock. In many ways I think we were quite similar in that my mother would see me make some of her same mistakes (painfully, I’m sure) but in all of our similarities she was that person that could be my reasoning in turmoil or the one who could always tame the storm for me.
I never imagined my life without her, not even for a second….and then she got sick. I was a mess then. Constantly in my head, pretending to be fine when I felt like my heart was imploding. I internalize things. I don’t share my anguish or my fears as they are happening. It’s always in retrospect. When I have found some peace and understanding.
I had my daughter while my mom was still here but pretty lost in the disease. When she past, my oldest was only 10 months. The fact that I had her was the only thing keeping me in one piece. I had too, because she needed me.
There are so many moments as a parent that we see with fresh eyes. Amazing things that are kids provide us. All of which, my mom wasn’t here for. Never in a million years did I think I wouldn’t be able to share these moments with my mother. Honestly, she is the only person I would have wanted to share these things with. There is such a pride that comes with bringing a human into this world, shaping them, and seeing all the gifts that they pour upon you in the form of achievements, spirit and love.
There is not a day that I don’t think about my mother. Every moment that I live through, I wonder what she would have thought of it. What she would say. If she would laugh or smile. I imagine seeing her hold my kids and kiss them on the cheek. Or pretend to hear her sing them a song. I can still close my eyes and smell her perfume. Or remember what she felt like when I hugged her. These things I pray I never forget. As the time passes on, I fear I will. I fear I won’t be able to explain all the beauty that was her to my kids. That somehow I will miss something, the essence that was her won’t resonate.
Being a mother without her is the most difficult thing I have ever done. Everyday I seek her advice and knowledge. But am left to assume what she would say, which is painful. Mothering is hard and I crave her being…always. Through the good times and the bad. She could always ease my worry or doubt or fear. She could make a perfect moment even better. But I am left to my faith that she sits with me as I write this, looking over my shoulder, calming my heart.
I am left to believe that she watches my kids when they sleep and eases their pain when they cry. I am left to imagine her following them through life and witnessing their major triumphs and sharing all their glories. Just a heart string away.
And I do believe mom, I do, but I still and always will miss you. I pray I make you proud and I know we will meet again.