Thoughts. Thoughts. Thoughts. Thoughts.
What are my thoughts?
I should know this.
Let me circle around a bit. I’ll get there. Circle with me for a moment.
I find that often times we, (we being “we the people” of the general public) look at things in terms of chunks of time. Specifically in near terms, the weeks/months ahead and further out, in five/ten year sections. “Where do you see yourself in five years?” “Can you imagine, ten years from now, when…” “What does this month look like for you?” Chunks of time. No wonder we have trouble living in the present.
But alas, we are programmed that way. To think ahead in these sections and to look back in these sections. Our lives, memories and histories are fragmented into these chunks as the specifics fade and the time blurs. And then before you know it, a decade goes by and here you are, you being me, circling around this term ‘decade’, letting it clunk around my head along with the loose screws and marbles and roll off of my tongue because today, since well, about right this moment, I have been motherless for a decade. DECADE. decade…echo, decade…echo, decade.
That is how it sounds in my head.
Yes, the one with the loose screws and marbles. I heard you peanut gallery, ease up.
Ten years. Ten years and yet the details and specifics of that day are so very clear. So much that yes, it does bring up a bit of anxiety and emotion as this day nears and appears because I have not forgotten a single thing from this day. Well, that seems weird to say since I don’t know how you would know if you forgot a detail because well, you forgot it, but I am pretty crystal clear on my perspective, recall, and even internal dialogue of this day. That, that is eery for me. That I can’t forget. The sounds, feelings, phone calls, attire, people, hustle, travel, sleeplessness, headspace of this day. It just will not escape me.
Today brings up the theme that we all should know and accept of not being in control. Of not knowing what lies ahead while we so fervently work to tidy the day to day happenings of each day we have…that has a completely uncertain future. That can be beautiful or terrifying. I most often find it beautiful but, on days like today, the terrifying can get to me. I look at my most precious sons, and so desperately do not want them to be motherless. Something I cannot control. I cannot guarantee. I cannot prepare for. I cannot make okay. But I want it for them, bad. To ensure that I will be there. That they will not be rolling the work decade around in their head one day for this same reason.
That is what I have realized most. What losing my mom has most done to me is twofold. First, there is a certain loneliness left there, that just cannot be filled. It just can’t. It is no ones fault. It is no one not doing their part. It isn’t even about happiness, or a marker of the current joy and joys I have in life. It is the very section of my heart and self that she gave me. That she quite literally grew for me. It is that connection that allows mothers to know their babies are awake in their crib before anyone else, that triggers their body to sense they are ill before the sickness strikes, the very real and biological connection given to mothers to protect and nurture their young because they are theirs. Simple as that. It is that place in me, that was lost ten years ago. What words, as harsh as they may seem have come to me in this tenth year without my mom to explain, rationalize and even compare are these,
“I am no longer, a mother’s daughter.”
Yes. She is with me. Yes, I carry her on with me. Yes, we are just alike. Yes, her legacy lives on in what she passed to my brother and I. Yes I have been abundantly loved and supported by friends and friends’ moms. But no, she is not here. No, she doesn’t show up because she knows we need her. No, she doesn’t pop by because she heard it in our voice or because it is our birthday month, or because she was missing us, or because she heard her grandbaby squeal and just had to see them or because she thought we just might need a break/day off/hour off. No, we are not thought of the way a mother thinks about her children because she cannot not think about her children no matter how hard she may try. I am no longer, a mother’s daughter.
The part two of the twofold is something that builds each year as I add years to my life. Gratitude. We all feel it and have it for a variety of reasons and we all need to have it and feel it for areas we may not right? As I realize more and more who I am, accept my personality, ways, flaws, choices I see her in that and I see those around me in that. For ten years now I have friends and family who were equally changed in ways on that day. I have friends who experienced loss first through this experience too. I have friends who at that young age had to figure out how to navigate their own shock and feelings and choose to support and love me through it. And they did. They may have been afraid, and nervous and wavering in what to do, but what they did was treat me the same and that is all I wanted. Desperately. To be the same. Even though I wasn’t they carried on. Backed me up. Cried with me. Let me laugh. Stood at my wedding. Threw me showers. Held my babies. Still do. Still check in. Still think of me. Still know….like a mother does. I am grateful for these friends who are in some ways stuck with me yes because of our relationships but also because big life happenings bind you together. They can’t forget this either. We all lost my mom that day.
Lastly, there is a perspective my Dad as somewhat discreetly taken that I don’t even know he shares with others so well. I have actually caught it often in conversation despite living quite far from one another. When he hears someone commenting on their age, getting old or complaining, he quite simply and softly without any malice and faith aside replies, “it is certainly better than the alternative.”
I am so grateful for each year of my life. I am grateful to get older. Grateful to grow with my family and friends and grateful to have family that is doing the same.
Experiencing all that she is missing and loving each other through it.
Ten years and counting.