Today is Mother’s Day. I miss my mom.
I close my eyes. I can see her, feel her next to me. I can see her smile, remember her hands holding mine.
It is unimaginable that is has been 15 years since my last Mother’s Day with her. She left us. Far too soon. So unfair. Cancer sucks.
My boys were 7 and 9 when she passed. They are now 23 and 21. They were little boys and now they are men. I imagine each of them talking to my mom now. Sam talking to her about so many different things, as he has this voracious curiosity about people and all kinds of subjects. My mother had so many stories and experiences and they would have talked for hours. And I imagine Josh just ribbing her, like he does to me, and making her laugh and laugh.
She would be surprised by them, impressed by them, I think. She would have so loved to have seen just how they have grown into such wonderful men, and I know she would be so proud. “My grandson just got his Masters.” I can just imagine her bragging to all her friends. “My Joshy was in Rome and this kid traveled all over the place. I remember when I was that age and traveled through Europe with my friend and all the people we met blah blah blah.” She would tell all her stories to Josh and they would both love it.
But only if….
I would like to think she is looking down with a smile.
From time to time I think back to different events in my life. I could have sworn she was there and then I realize she wasn’t because she was gone. My memories are faulty. She should have been there. Life has moved on at a fast pace and I lose track.
The pain of loss never goes away. Denial, depression, anger and acceptance are the traditional 4 stages of grief. Years ago I read an article that spoke about adding a 5th to the list, yearning.
Yes, I do find myself yearning for her touch, to hear her voice. I want to pick up the phone and just chat. I find myself after all these years continuing to experience each of these signs of grief from time to time. The intensity, the rawness has mellowed over time but it never goes away. It happens when I least expect it, a song comes on the radio, I’m eating Chinese food or just stopped at a traffic light. It can hit you at any time.
The bond that ties us to our mothers is real. It’s strong. It’s complicated.
Mine was no different. Our relationship was a roller coaster ride. It had it’s ups and downs and didn’t always feel good. We fought. We cried. We laughed. We forgave. We talked. And we always shopped.
We both had our battle scars. I understand now how difficult it is to be a parent. I have tried to remember what it felt like when I was growing up as I parented my children. We all have our stories. Through it all, our love endures.
My mother challenged me to be the best version of myself. Sometimes I didn’t see it that way or understand. Looking back I am incredibly thankful for her influence and for her role in who I have become. I have tried to accomplish the same goal with my children.
Today I would tell my mother how much I miss her. I would tell her that her influence made me into the person I am today.
My mother taught me anything is possible. She taught me how to write and become a good student in school and in life. She taught me the value of volunteering and giving back to my community. She inspired me to become a good cook and entertain. She taught me the value of family. She taught me how to be a good, caring, empathetic person and a devoted friend. The list goes on and on.
She was vibrant, beautiful and lived life until her last breath.
Often we take our close relationships for granted. We don’t always realize what we have until it is gone. I did get a chance to reflect on what we had and let her know how I felt. Even as the years pass, I still wish I could tell her more.
My mother may be physically gone but I see her in my children and myself. She lives on through all of us.