Yesterday, we celebrated Easter, but also my Mom’s first birthday in heaven. When we laid mom to rest last week, our priest said, “God gives us all the time we need on Earth, to grant us eternal life. Whether it’s 6 years or 64 years, it’s enough time.” After I thought about it, he’s right; although difficult to say; he’s right.
Mom had just enough time. When we saw those who came to pay their respects, it was overwhelming, but that was mom – mom talked to everyone, she was nice to everyone and she truly impacted those who were in her life; she impacted them forever.
Although, mom may have had just enough time to be granted eternal life, or just enough time to make a difference in the lives of those who loved her, I can’t help but feel that I lost out. I can’t help but feel that there wasn’t enough time. I can’t help but feel that just a couple more days or weeks would have mattered.
When mom took her last breath, I was numb. My heart was racing and I couldn’t feel anything. It wasn’t real. Not yet at least. Then, I sat there alone with her for a couple minutes. I had trouble saying what I wanted to say, because there was just so much. But as I sat there and looked at her, she was back to being healthy. She was free from the cancer. And I was thankful for that; but I was angry that to be free from the cancer she had to leave us. And for the days that followed, I had more anger, than heartbreak. I was mad that she was gone. I was mad that I couldn’t call her (even though I almost tried). I was mad that God let this happen. And, I was mad that no one could save her.
Then, that anger turned to sadness. And each day I cry a little more than the day before. Each day, it’s a little harder and each day I miss my mom a little bit more.
But somehow, the day of my mom’s funeral – I was strong; just like her. And people around me said, your mom gave you her strength today. I didn’t believe them at first, at first I thought it was just because I find it too difficult to cry in front of people and I am too proud to show my tears; but as I read my mom’s eulogy I remained calm, strong and stable. And, I asked myself, how is that even possible? My answer was the answer a lot of people gave me – it was my mom.
Now, five days after burying my mom, life is hard without her. In the last five days I’ve grieved more, I’ve found it more difficult to be alone. I’ve found it more difficult to sit and do nothing. I have dreams about her every night and wake up crying. I cry during the day. I cry at night before I go to sleep. I cry when the thought of her pops in my mind. And, I cry because I haven’t had a sign from her, besides an owl the night she passed away. I cry because no one can understand what I am going through. I cry because people think they can. I cry just because.
And when people ask me how I am doing, I say fine, just like my mom always did. Because if I really said how I felt, it would be something like this – I feel like my world is crashing and sometimes I feel like I can’t breathe. I’m jealous of people who have their moms and I’m jealous of people who can call their moms. I’m angry at what people say to me. I’m angry that sometimes I’m forgotten about and people only ask me how my dad is doing. I’m angry that people forget that I am 24 years old and motherless. I’m sad that I can’t call my mom. I’m sad that my mom can’t be here. I’m sad that four days after laying her to rest, we had to celebrate our first holiday without her and also her first birthday in heaven.
So as I end this blog entry, I leave you with the poem that Father Domenic Valla read at my mom’s funeral, The Dash by Linda Ellis:
I read of a man who stood to speak
at the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on the tombstone
from the beginning…to the end.
He noted that first came the date of birth
and spoke the following date with tears,
but he said what mattered most of all
was the dash between those years.
For that dash represents all the time
that they spent alive on earth.
And now only those who loved them
know what that little line is worth.
For it matters not, how much we own,
the cars…the house…the cash.
What matters is how we live and love
and how we spend our dash.
So, think about this long and hard.
Are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left
that can still be rearranged.
If we could just slow down enough
to consider what’s true and real
and always try to understand
the way other people feel.
And be less quick to anger
and show appreciation more
and love the people in our lives
like we’ve never loved before.
If we treat each other with respect
and more often wear a smile,
remembering that this special dash
might only last a little while.
So, when your eulogy is being read,
with your life’s actions to rehash…
would you be proud of the things they say
about how you spent YOUR dash?