I lost my Mom that day and my life has never been the same. A piece of me died that day too and part of my heart was irreversibly broken. Her death definitely changed me. I used to be very naive, extremely optimistic and quite a bit more happy-go-lucky. I’m sure some of those characteristics diminish naturally with age, but who’s to say? I’ll never know how different I would be today, had 8/8/98 not progressed as it had.
I watched, with my family, as Mom took her last labored breath that morning. It was the most surreal moment of my life. I remember hiding out in my sister’s room when the morgue came to take her body away from our house for the last time. I was only 18 and honestly didn’t want to watch my Mom’s body carried away. I wasn’t sure if I could handle that memory. Today, I still think that was the right choice for me.
I remember friends and family visiting that day. And I remember lots of tears and lots of laughter as wonderful stories were relived about Mom. My uncle took us to get dinner that night and I remember looking around and thinking, “Don’t these people know my world is crumbling around me? How can they be acting normal, like nothing’s happened, when my Mom died today?” It’s very strange to see how life goes on, even if you’re not ready for it to. My sister later told me she was thinking the same types of thoughts.
I’ve made great strides in making peace with her death. It’s just not something I had prepared myself for, nor do I think a Mother’s death is something one can prepare for. I still think it’s shitty (please, excuse my language) that I have had to live without my Mom since I was 18. I think it sucks that she didn’t get to see me (or my sisters) get married, watch my college graduations, or see any of her grandchildren. I wish I could call her, get a hug from her, hear her laugh, see her smile, hold her hand, just one more time.
I hope she is looking down on me from her beautiful place in heaven with the biggest smile. [At my high school graduation she told me she would be the easiest to spot because she would be the one in the stands with the biggest smile! :)] I hope I am making her proud. If I could be a tiny portion of the woman she was, I would be so grateful. She treated others with respect and love. She had a great sense of humor and cared for others so much; she was a Mom-away-from-home for many.
I miss her each and every day, but I am so fortunate to have been blessed with such an amazing example and role model.
Until next time, here’s to Mothers, role models and unconditional love.