our year of firsts

We’re more than halfway through our year of firsts.

Those of you who’ve lost someone know what I’m talking about.  Our first Easter without mom. Then Mother’s Day.  Even Father’s Day (though it sounds counterintuitive, I just couldn’t stop worrying about my dad for that one).  We’ve celebrated five family birthdays and had our family week at the lake.

Each one has been a little less jarring, though I know we haven’t hit the deep water yet. Thanksgiving, mom’s birthday, and Christmas will be when the undertow’s strongest, and I won’t really be out of the woods until we’re past the anniversary of mom’s death.

mom&kids

I pretty much kept my head down for Easter this year.  It was simple to do since we were traveling – I had plenty to keep me busy, and since we were away from my familiar traditions I didn’t run into that many triggers.

Mother’s Day was pretty tough on me, though.  The week leading up to it was torturous, the day itself peppered with sadness.  The thought that I’ll never again hold my mama’s hand and tell her how much I love her hit hard.  It’s particularly difficult on this holiday because each passing year brings more clarity on exactly how much that wonderful woman gave to me.

We missed mom at all of our family gatherings – my kids’ birthdays, my niece’s graduation – but I’ve started to make peace with the fact that she’s watching from above.  That, in a way, mom understands far more about our lives now than she has for a long time.

Thanksgiving will be hard, though.  Like many of you my family always gathers on this day, but we also have a joint birthday celebration for mom and my niece.  (Which made dessert simple. My dad brought pie one year – pie! – and we were all like Dad!  Cake Boss already made two cakes! NO PIES!!)  Don’t tell anyone but this November would have been a milestone birthday: the big 8-0.  There will be dancing (and chocolate) in heaven.

But then there’s Christmas…lawd, Christmas.  The first one without mom’s smiling face as grandkids pass out presents will be…phew.  Well, I don’t know what it’ll be.  I can’t seem to fit the emotion into words.

If I’ve learned anything in these last seven months, though, it’s that we’ll get through it together.  The joys, the sorrows, the surprising or surreal – we lean on each other and come out the other side a little bit stronger.

I am my mother’s daughter.  I’ve walked through fire and I’ll get through this, too.  But what I wouldn’t give to hear my mom’s voice one more time.  To hear what she thinks about me and my life now that she can truly see us again.

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