When my mom passed away, I imagined reaching this day and honestly, I didn’t know how I would make it this long without her. I know that over time, I’ve lost a lot of my emotion towards things. It’s something that is hard for me because I think I wasn’t an overly emotional person before her death and now I rarely show emotion at all. Even the kids I coach say that I really have no emotion. I give it to them straight and that’s just my personality. Pairing this up with the fact that I’m fiercely independent, I know I can come off as a tough nut to crack. It takes a lot for me to let people in and to really share some of my feelings. I really struggle with asking for help and accepting it. I’d rather just do everything by myself, which actually is one of the reasons why I do well with B’s work schedule and him being gone from home so often. But I never imagined what my life would look like ten years later and how happy I could be while still missing a big part of my heart.
As they say, time heals, but at the same time, absence makes the heart grow fonder. I have so many vivid memories of our lives together, but some things over time have become foggy. There are things I don’t remember that I told myself to never forget. The burning pain of her leaving me has faded but I remember the love she had for my brother and I the most. I remember the days and weeks right after she passed and how I couldn’t even catch my breath. I’d sob in the middle of the night to the point where I’d almost throw up. I’d be scared to fall asleep because I didn’t want to not wake up. I would cry and cry and wonder how I could ever feel normal again. At the time I felt so old, but looking back I was so young. I wondered how I’d make it through all the holidays and a full year without her. Now, life has changed so much and I wish I could share one day together again, but then her leaving would leave me in the same place I was ten years ago. Wondering how I could go on.
When I found out I was pregnant, I had a weird flood of emotions. Part of me was terrified because we were going to be parents and I had to give birth, which didn’t sound like fun, part of me was excited because we did want kids, but the emotion that surprised me the most was sadness. Not only was I experiencing something I know my mom wanted so badly, but I was also going to experience it all and I was going to become a mom, without her. Throughout my pregnancy, being emotional and hormonal there were random moments where I’d really, really miss my mom. I so badly wanted to tell her how it felt to be pregnant and have her there for me. I wanted to have her at my baby shower, to have her there when I wasn’t feeling great, and to go baby clothes shopping with me. To do completely normal things that most girls get to experience, but for me they were just something that was a sad reminder that she wasn’t there.
On very rare occasions a flame of jealousy comes up and it is shocking and it burns. I think about her taking care of my daughter, being around to talk to me, to be able to experience anything with me, and it hurts. Becoming a mom myself I have a better understanding of her love for me. Knowing that she wanted me so badly, chose to adopt me and all the things she did for me throughout my life. Going to my track meets, the soccer games, the “I’m doing this because I love you, one day you’ll understand.” talks, it all makes sense now. It’s amazing to be able to have that appreciation, and even though she’s not physically here to experience this with me, I still see glimpses of her in my life. I have to be honest, it’s been a hard transition without her. I have thought of her more in the past six months than I probably have over the past five years. There are so many little moments I wish I could share with her and times I wish I could call her just to tell her some thing funny. There are so many times I look at Cora and I can just feel my mom’s love for me.
I am so thankful for the 20 years we did get to share, and even though I miss her with some days being harder than others, the memories I do have have made me a better person and now a better mom. She has shaped me to be the person I am today, and knowing I have a little bit of her inside me makes me proud to keep doing all that I do. Through her death, I learned the definition of hurt and pain. But I started learning more about myself and who I was and what I wanted to stand for. I learned what was important and what I wanted to live for. She taught me more than any book ever could.
One of the greatest compliments I recently received was after spending some time with someone who also knew my mom, she looked at me and said, “You are so much like your mother. It’s crazy to listen to you talk. You guys are the same.” I don’t think that she meant anything profound by it and was saying it in passing, but if I could be like any one, I’d want to be like her. When I got up and left and got into my car, I started crying. There are just those moments where the feelings all well up and the good memories rush back.
I will forever be grateful for the blessing you were and continue to be in my life, for the lessons you’ve taught me, and the love you shared with me, but I will forever miss you.