Sometimes I still count days. Especially on Tuesday. You went home on a Tuesday, but I don’t have to tell you that. For some reason, I’ve been replaying it a lot in my head lately. Those 5 days, the first night showed no indication that we would never bring you home. When it all first happened, I replayed the days over and over to make sure I never forgot one single detail, but they run together for me now. As the first night/early morning wore on, it became clearer to me that we were struggling. I still didn’t think you wouldn’t come home, but I can look back and plainly see the signs, a little over four months removed.
It doesn’t hurt less, but the hurt has evolved into something different, something I can’t quite explain. I enjoy things again, I’m not always sad, and I laugh a lot. I know you would love the laughter, because cutting up was all we ever did. Always out for the HA-HA, right? Though you tended to be more serious, you know I never let that last very long. I made you laugh in those 5 days and that was important. It was good.
There are moments when time freezes and the hands on the clock do not budge. I relive flashes from those 5 days in ICU and I wonder if something could’ve been done differently. Did they do everything they could? Did we make the right choices? But, they were your choices. Your wishes. Until the very last moment, plans were carried out in accordance to what the Lord showed you. I hope we did okay. I hope you felt loved and safe and not scared. I hope Mamaw and Papaw met you and welcomed you. I love imagining that reunion and all your young faces, both your arms wrapped around your Mom and Dad. It hurts and gives me joy all at once.
We’re going to have to start packing up the house soon. I’ve only been twice since you died. It still hurts too much to see everything in it’s place, just like we left it that night in October. It hurts too much to see your spot on the couch, empty. It hurts too much to think of tearing everything apart, piece by piece, and carrying out the last parts that we have of you. Either way, it all hurts.
I think of you constantly and find you everywhere. I don’t always cry, but it still happens a lot. I had an absolutely hysterical story from work to tell you a few weeks ago and when I realized I couldn’t, I cried out in my car, “Oh, Mommy, why aren’t you here?” and I half laughed and half cried. I’ve been writing this letter for weeks, though. I wait until I time that I feel really strong, and in less than 60 seconds, I’m crying again. Shoot, I’m crying right now. I am so broken and lost without your guidance and love.
Spring is almost here, thankfully. Only a few more weeks and the longest winter will finally be over. I have never felt cold, darkness, and sadness like these last four months. I have never felt emotional pain manifest to physical pain with such force. I never lied to myself about what was happening with you, but I’ll always say I truly thought we had a few good months left. I expected you to go in 2018. But, here we are in the spring of a new chapter, your favorite time of year, so it’s only right we find a way to keep moving forward. I know you want all of us to be happy.
I’ll never be able to give words to how much I miss you. I could write for pages and it wouldn’t be enough. I dream of you often, even if I don’t remember it, but I can always remember your face. I picture you in Heaven a lot, surrounded by flowers and birds, whole and complete. You were my sunshine, warm and inviting, happy and light, and I struggle to find that now. I’m softer than I was prior to October 24th. I don’t feel the brush of anger as quickly and I process and understand events and people differently.
People say nothing is the same after you lose your Mother, and that’s true. Life has gone on, but your absence is as broad as the sky and grief can be so unspeakably deep. I wade through the swift water, constantly fighting against the current, praying that I don’t drown. Moments in that hospital room haunt me, your eyes searching and pleading, the time you just started at us and I knew you were soaking it all in. You were ready to see Jesus, but you were as heartbroken about leaving us as we were about losing you. There will always be an empty part of me that can never be explained or described. I’ve learned to live with that space and accept that nothing fills the exact shape of you. Honestly? I wouldn’t want it to.
I love you, Mommy. Every minute of every day.