My mom died almost eight years ago. She was not yet 60 years old. The last years of her life were marked with the misery of unrelenting pain and so, when she passed suddenly on that spring day, one of my first reactions was simply to be thankful for her relief. I did not want to lose her and I could never be ready to let her go, but I was glad she no longer hurt. After the initial shock of losing her, at a time when both of my children were so very young, I spent months (maybe even years) simply reacting to it. I felt like an orphan. My dad was reeling, so I spent much of my time on the phone, comforting him. I also spent time with my sisters talking through the leftover emotions we had from the years of my mom's injury and illness, trying to get to a point where we were ready to tackle her death.
Only in the past few years do I feel like I've finally been able to stop reacting and start assimilating and dealing with the gaping hole in my life. I no longer have my mother. I no longer have the person who held a role in my life that was so central, so integral to the person I have become. As my daughters grow and mature, I realize more than ever the starring role my mom played, because it is the role I now play with them. I hope that I am with them until they are much older. I regret, greatly, that my mom died when I was still so young. I had not yet had the chance to become the person I am now, a person I really would have liked for her to know. And I wish my daughters could remember her. My youngest daughter is so very like her in so many ways, yet she has no memory of her.
I looked at the calendar this morning and realized that my mom's birthday is fast approaching. I wanted to write this lovely article about the lessons I had learned from her death and, perhaps, provide inspiration to someone else who has lost a parent or another loved one. Instead, I find myself simply sad and missing her and unable to express anything other than that I wish I could talk to her just one last time. So, readers, I leave you with this request—call your mom and tell her you love her. You'll be glad you did. Until next time, y'all have a good one.