I talk to God about you and I ask Him what you’re doing. I hope He hears me. I hope you do, too.
I imagine you walking through fields of flowers, flowers I’ve never seen, but I try to cling to the colors of what might be. I wonder if your hair is still red, do you still have freckles, and if your hazel brown eyes are still the same. I hope I would recognize you if I saw you, but I can’t be sure.. You’ve visited me in dreams, just like you were on this Earth, and in those dreams you look the same, but I know you’re different, too.
Is your house beautiful? Is it a cottage like you dreamed? Are Sawyer and Sally there? How close do you live to Mamaw and Papaw? Granny and Papaw? I have so many questions, six months worth of what ifs and what could I have done differently and every variant thereof. I sleep under a blanket of your pictures and it was supposed to just be for a while, but now it’s comforting. Sometimes I lay my face against your picture and cry. Sometimes I just whisper, “Oh, Mommy” and sometimes, I don’t say anything at all.
I think Heaven is real and you are there. I think about it a lot. I think about what it would be like to hug you again and feel you embrace me with both arms wrapped around me. I want to ask what it’s like to have full use of that left arm, to feel no nerve pain, to be whole. I never wished for more time or prayed for it. I just prayed that you wouldn’t suffer because I knew I could handle thinking about what you have gained easier than I could watching you deteriorate. I told you that in 2016. I said, “Mommy, I can do this. I can put you on the point [family cemetery]. I can do this life without you before I can watch you suffer on this Earth” and we both teared up, eyes big, staring at each other. Your eyes told me you didn’t want to leave me as much as I never wanted you to.
I wish for more time now. I have a lot of trouble with the last two and a half months of your life and coming to terms with not seeing you enough. We talked everyday, but I didn’t visit enough and I didn’t change my routine. I remember lamenting over not wanting you to feel like I thought you were dying. I can’t explain it; I knew you were dying, but I didn’t think you really would, which I realize sounds insane. After you died, 3 books about healing scriptures came in the mail to you. You ordered them at the beginning of October, so I don’t think you thought you were dying, either. You didn’t plan to leave me here. You didn’t plan to leave on my birthday.
My life is measured in who I was before 10/24/17 and who I am after; Those two people are not the same. In some ways, I am much better. The kindness and softness you offered people is something I aspire to have and be and something I could never quite reach prior to losing you. Maybe it’s part of my call to fill that gap, though I will never be as kind and inviting as you, I imagine. I feel like I have aged in dog years in the last 183 days. I feel like it’s been one million years and one day all at the same time.
Everything I have written since October has been some form of a letter to my Mom. It’s gut-wrenching to read anything I wrote just after her passing and relive that initial loss and pain. I try to go there as little as possible. I thought I would shift gears in this particular blog and change the voice and stop writing as if I am speaking to her. I am always speaking to her. I carry her with me in my heart everywhere, but life requires me to be present and I have to keep pressing and pushing myself forward.
I could probably teach a masterclass in loss and grief. If you’re reading this, you might know me personally or you just follow on social media. You’ve likely watched as my posts veered away from my Mom and back to real life. Life continued and that is still the craziest thing to me. I had to go on. At some point I realized that moving forward was not forgetting my Mom because of course I could never do that. Moving forward was healthy, it was living, it was part of the process. The long, never ending, arduous process of grief.
For several months after she passed, time stood still. I went through the motions of holidays but I don’t remember much about any of those particular days. On New Year’s Eve, Chad and I went to a friend’s house and I had to heavily self medicate because I was so worried someone would ask me how I was doing. Spoiler — absolutely awful was the answer. I hardly remember anything about that night other than being in a room full of people I love but feeling like I wasn’t there at all. I was different, but I knew I had to find my way back to myself.
More often than not, tears sting my eyes at the mention of her name. When I see pictures of her, I cry and smile at the same time. The joy my Mom brought to my life was unspeakable and everything since her passing has been marked with tangible sadness, but still, we move forward. She would want it that way. Mom would want her legacy to go on exactly how she lived; full of hope, kindness, and love for people and the Lord. She would want nothing more than for all things concerning her homegoing to be worked together for her children and grandchildren’s good. She placed her entire life firmly upon that word found in Romans.
I miss my Mom. Every second of every single day. I’m not lying when I tell you that a single hour does not pass without her crossing my mind. I was her clingy child, I held her hand as an adult when we were in public together, I rested my head on her shoulder in church, I was very affectionate with her to the point that I probably annoyed the life out of her. Never did I truly envision my life without her, without her voice, her laugh, the hilarious faces she would make during conversations, her sometimes too close talking, and how she would bug her eyes out and just peer right at you. I just didn’t know how this would be. The answer is hard. It’s very hard.
My love for her transcends time and space. No matter where she is in the universe, she is with me in my heart. I hold on to that when things get hard, when I feel like I can’t go on without her. My sweet little Mommy, the most beautiful person I have or will ever know.