a year in the life

No one’s ever prepared to lose their mother.  Intellectually I understand nobody lives forever, but it’s one thing to know death is inevitable and another thing entirely to find myself walking the earth without the woman who’s loved me my whole life.  It’s a permanent shift in the universe.

Here are some of the things I’ve learned in 365 days without my mom.

There are moments when I’d give anything to hear her voice just one more time.

I remember exactly how it felt to sit by her side and hold her hand.  Even on days when her fingers were cold and weak, there was still comfort in knowing I was holding the hand that cared for me above all else.

I miss the smell of her perfume.

I feel her strength surging through me when it’s time to rise to the occasion.  Shutting down hate, standing up for my kids, finding that steely edge when dealing with rude people – I hear mom’s voice when my own mama bear shows up.

There have been moments of joy countered by moments of bottomless sorrow over the last year. Oftentimes the latter came without warning.

I wish my kids could have known her better.

Holidays are hard.  Regular days are hard.  Milestones are hard.  When she’s not here to share in my life, it’s hard.

I wish I could have known her better.  I should have taken the time to learn more about her life.

The memories of mom’s struggle with her illness take up too much space.  People tell me to remember the good things, the wonderful parts of our time together, but right now there’s simply no room in my head.  I hope over time I can replace the painful memories with ones that better reflect mom’s spirit.

My red jacket will always remind me of our last girls’ shopping day.

I can point out each item in my closet that came from mom over the years.  Dad tells me she would painstakingly search for things that made her think of “her girls.”

Decorating the Christmas tree will never be the same.  I remember all the years we hung ornaments growing up, and I treasure the ones she passed along for me to hang on our family’s tree.

I wish she could have known my kids better.  They’re growing into themselves now, and I think she’d really like the people they’re becoming.

I never knew I could feel so much sadness that my heart would literally ache with it.

There are three kinds of people in my life – those who gloss over pain, those who encourage me to get past it and only remember the good stuff, and those who are willing to simply be with me through my grief.  That last group has been my lifeline.


12 thoughts on “a year in the life

    • Thank you. It’s surreal — I’ve been so busy keeping my head down so I can get through the tough spots, it’s hard to look up and accept that a whole year has passed. In some ways it feels like yesterday; in others, a lifetime.


    • Thanks, van. I’ve been sad this weekend so the difficult came out in my post, but there have been moments of good sprinkled in over the year. I’m passing on good memories to my kids when they come.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. It makes me think of when we’d go out beyond the swells where the water was over our heads. I’d get so tired just treading water, and then a huge swell would come along. Sometimes I’d float right over it, but sometimes it would start breaking early and suck us all under. This can be exhausting.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. It’s hard for me to read these sorta posts right now, but I’m glad I took the time to read this one. It’s a beautiful, inspiring, tear-worthy tribute. I am not prepared to lose my mother. Since my father’s been sick, I’ve lost aspects of him already and I realize it’s a taste of the future.
    I am so glad your mother lives on in you in such precious, life-affirming ways. You will impart pieces of her into your own children and in this way, we all live on.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, thank you, Joey, this means a lot to me. I definitely understand how certain posts are harder than others; there are days when I come across some pieces and have to stop partway through. I realized the other day that I couldn’t really hear her voice anymore and it almost laid me out. Thinking of you… ((hugs))

      Liked by 1 person

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