Friday marked 5 months since my mom’s passing. Yesterday was her birthday. She would have been 83.
As I wade my way through this year of firsts and through my grief I hear so many people’s advice in my head. “Take your time.” “Don’t let anyone tell you how to grieve.” “Grieve in your own way and in your own time.” “The first year is the hardest, getting through those ‘firsts’”. I tear up every day and then have those days when I have a good cry. Sometimes it happens when I’m out running and sometimes it hits be at bedtime. Other times it hits me randomly, like when I’m driving down the road. Grief is strange that way and is not on a set schedule.
A good friend of mine who lost her mom shortly after graduating from college (too soon) recently told me that she wouldn’t turn on the radio for a long time after her mom had passed. She was afraid of hearing a song that would reduce her to tears. So, she lived without the radio for a while. I understand that. We all have triggers that open up the tear ducts. We all have our own way of dealing with the loss. We all grieve in our own way.
And, as tough as this first year is with all the ‘firsts’ – first Mother’s Day, first birthday, first Christmas (around the corner) – I find I miss my mom so much more on other days and seemingly at random moments. As I updated the Wander Your Way website, I missed asking her to come look at it, asking for her opinion. She had a good eye for creative projects. I could hear her say, “I like that picture better than that one.” I would then ask, “Why?” “I don’t know I just do,” she would reply. Then I would mimic her in a funny voice, “I don’t know I just do.” And she would give me the stink eye and I’d laugh. Then she would laugh. I miss those moments.
I miss telling her things that are happening in my life. Big things like reconnecting with an old friend in Colorado – she would have loved that story. To the little things like what old Bob said at the gym that day. I still tell her these things. I talk to her all the time. And, I know she can hear me. Somehow I just know she does. But, I long to hear her voice, the sound of her laughter and to see her face as she gives me the stink eye. I miss those dimples and the twinkle in her eye.
But, even though we often say, “she should still be here”, I know that she really shouldn’t be. I have times when I want to scream, “Just give me my mom back!” But, would that be fair? She was suffering in those final few months. She was so out of breath walking the 12 feet from the living room to the bathroom. I wouldn’t want her back like that. How selfish of me! I remind myself every day that she was ready and she was at peace with her decision to let go of this life.
Even though I try not to live with regrets, I do have one. This regret is that I wasn’t here last year for her birthday which, unknowingly to all of us, turned out to be her last. I left on September 3 for Switzerland and Italy. I sent her an email on her birthday. The response I got was wonderful. I’m sharing it just as she wrote it to me…
Lynne, I had a terrific BD…..came home after breakfast and Kim and Wayne and all the kids and kids were going to St. Savior Festival and so we went over also. Dad was hesitant but it worked out super. Got to park close to the on way onto the grounds, Kim came and met us and took my walker and away we went….All kids were there except Jason and Alycia. Jon had to be at Firehouse so Jess and Bradley and Caleb were there, the Monahans, and Warnecke’s and Bill and Emily and kids. Ate with all, and Dad came back from somewhere as we were all under the tent eating and he said brought someone you know, it was my ol’ school chum, Rita. So she sat next to me and we chatted and then Rick and Marie came, JoJo, saw Adam and his wife and little girl. Watched the kids go on more rides and Ansley and Aidan were both in tears as they wanted one more ride Daddy!!!!! So we all left and came home. It was a great BD and lots of wishes from other people we knew. Lots of wishes and lots of love and hugs and weather was fantastic so ONE GOOD HAPPY AND BLESSED DAY for ‘Lil Mama….Love you bunches, have a safe trip tomorrow and talk to you soon.
I am so grateful to my dad and my sister and her family for making my little mama’s last birthday so full of happiness and love. And even though this past weekend was difficult, I know that my mom is okay. I know she is at peace. And, as much as I hate this new “normal”, I know it’s how it is supposed to be. I’ll never stop missing her, but I do believe that time will indeed make it all hurt a little less…