Little things remind me of my mom. A smell, a sound, a memory that flashes through my mind, the deep desire to pick the phone just to talk, and countless other reminders in daily life. But there is something close to dread that fills me at the approach of milestones and holidays.
Today is the day of my mother’s birth. I can celebrate her life, but there is always and will always be a looming overbearing absence in my life now that she is gone. I can’t call her to wish her a happy birthday. She has not aged a day past the age of 69 when we suddenly found ourselves at the end of her appointed days some 24, 777 days after her birth.
I was there that day, when she took her last breath, and there was nothing left to do but carry on without her. She taught me everything – I can see her influence in cooking, my writing, my children’s gifts and personalities. I can feel her woven through my life. Her life ended, but mine carried on with the interwoven thread of her in me. I can still hear her today in my mind and sometimes in my own voice.
Her heart stopped beating that day on February 9, 2011. She inhaled her last breath and like the greatest sigh of all time, she released it. But we were tied together, connected forever by DNA, history, memories, her words that echo still today in my heart and the memory of her touch. A day does not come in which I forget where I came from, or the woman that bore me, raised me, praised my steps and supported my independence.
She tried to teach me to live without her, but I guess that is just something you have to learn within the experience of living with her absence. Every October 29th I miss her something extra.
She lived a life of no regrets. There are no if only moments of things unsaid, love unshared or unforgiveness. I am lucky that way. The way she lived. The way she died. They both remind me to live intentionally, live fully, love abundantly, give relentlessly, and share excessively.
May I reach the end of my days with no regrets—may we all.
Grief is a journey. You do not get over it in one day, a single week, a solitary year or even a lifetime. I’ve collected a few posts from the four year journey I have been on since the day my mother died to encourage you that grief changes, you grow, it never ends but it does change. Most of all to let you know that you are not alone in this journey.