It’s been 14 years since she left. It’s like a lifetime ago and yesterday at the same time. The loss of my mother was indescribable. We never had a traditional relationship. As I grew older, our roles were very much reversed, but even still, missing one’s mother (for lack of a better word) is hard . . . plain and simple.
Sometimes I wonder, what is it exactly that I miss? Of course, I miss talking to her. I miss how she drove me crazy. I miss her baking. I miss hearing about her newest needlepoint. I miss when she botched the names of the boy bands from my generation and would cringe when she wanted to hear Boyz II Men, “I’ll Make Love to You,” (love the song, but gag that mom loved it more).
But most of all, I miss what could have been. The grandma she could have been to my boys. The relationship we could have had. The things we could have done. The talks we could have had. It is hard for a young woman in her 20s to live without her mother even if her mother wasn’t something straight out of a Hallmark movie. Even if that mother had a hard life. Even if that mother was divorced. Even if that mother’s relationship with her kids was sometimes strained. Even if that mother sometimes leaned on her kids more than her kids could lean on her. Even if that mother made mistakes. I make mistakes, we all do.
To be a young wife and mom in my 20s without a mother of my own felt lonely and empty. In my 40s, sometimes it still does. I’m a motherless daughter and a motherless mother. It hurts on the anniversary of her passing. It hurts on Mother’s Day. It hurts on her birthday (which is my birthday too). It hurts on some random days in between too. Sometimes Frankie Valli comes on the radio, and I get choked up and it hurts.
So, on a day like today, the first day of school for my kids—kids she would have adored and doted on—and the 14th anniversary of her passing, I struggle with how to feel as everyone grieves differently. I wonder what I should be doing, like if I should be doing something grand in her memory. And although she was a little extra, she was not an over-the-top kind of gal. She liked what she liked.
So, after everyone was settled and needed nothing from me, I went out for a run, listening to good music as a way to remember that I am thankful for the active and healthy body the Lord has blessed me with. Then after dinner, I decided my boys should have ice cream sundaes and watch one of her favorite movies with me if they wanted to. I told them that Grandma would have loved to treat them to ice cream if she was alive today.
And now I lie here in my bed writing about her, knowing she would want me to write and that she would be proud of the person I am today. She would be proud of my sister. She would be proud of our husbands, and most of all, she would be so dang proud and in love with her grandkids and overjoyed that there are 11 of them now. That thought just fills my eyes with tears. But it is true. And every year that goes by, I will keep on building a legacy for my family based on my Lord and Savior, and I will remember my mom and take comfort in my God who sustains me through all things.