Seven years ago today, I lost my mom to acute myeloid leukemia. It was a quick and aggressive battle that ended quietly early one morning as the sun gently crept up over the mountains and filled her bedroom with it's rays. Her last sigh escaped her lips and floated effortlessly into the air around us. Always one to want to be with her family, she was surrounded by her husband and children, all sending her off on her new adventure with our love and support.
In some ways, it feels like she's been gone a very long time. I guess seven years can be looked upon as a very long time. Over the course of the past few years, I find I'm not thinking about her everyday, anymore. The dull ache that I carried around w/ me regularly, has left me as my constant companion, instead returning only every now and again. I visit her grave less and feel less guilty about that. My love and appreciation for her has not diminished, of course, however life, being what it is, keeps moving onward and we're all along for this mortal ride that keeps us busy and distracted. In the days, weeks and years since her passing, I've been busy raising children, going back to school, running a small business, etc. All things that occupy the mind and calendar. So, somehow seven years have snuck by and I realize I haven't seen my mom's face, except for her pictures in my house, for a very long time. Realizing how long it has been, makes me realize how much I've healed. Though the hole remains, my soul has been busy mending.
However, in some ways it feels like she was just here. I think about how she was just recently my 'go-to' girl when I had concerns as I started raising my own family, and how willing she was to help me out when the responsibilities of motherhood got to be overwhelming at times. She was my advocate when I considered homeschooling, a part of my support for my homebirths, a person on “my” side and who loved me w/o borders. As I band together w/ my two younger sisters as they begin having their own families, I realize what they're missing out on, what I should be providing for them in her stead, and how much I wish she were still here for all of us. If I hear her voice as I watch old home movies, it's like hearing an old friend that you haven't seen for a while, but you could just pick up a conversation with where you left off. There are plenty of memories of her still alive and well that bounce around inside my head reminding me that she was just here, just a blink of an eye ago, she was snuggling my newborn against her cheek enjoying the smell of my daughters 'newness'. She was just here, sharing her thoughts and tears, not always as mother to daughter, but sometimes as woman to woman. We had stumbled into a new dimension in our relationship, meant to be enjoyed for years to come, but lasting only the last few years of her life. Better late than never, though.
I'm grateful that there is remembering and forgetting. I'm grateful that there is still pain and healing. It reminds me of where I've come from and overcome in my life, while still allowing me the opportunity to seek happiness and joy in the present and future.
I love you, Mom. Thank you for everything you were.