I have these nightmares that wake me up. It’s of how my mom looked during her final hours. I see the image over and over again. It scares me and it puts me right back in that moment with her. It puts me right back begging her to let go, to not suffer anymore. It puts me back to the hardest day of my life.
It’s not how I want to remember her. But right now, that’s what shows up in my head. It’s what keeps me up, it’s what wakes me up and it’s what makes me break down to tears.
Lately, it has been more difficult. Each day is a struggle to not think about her being gone. As Mother’s Day approaches, I have a heavy heart. It’s the first of many Mother’s Days without her. I go into stores and see Mother’s Day cards and I fight back tears. I see the cards I so desperately want to give her, the ones that fit our relationship perfectly. So, like a crazy person, I’ll get a card and I’ll write what I would write to her if she were here. And, I’ll save it. I’ll bring it to her grave and read it to her. Then, I’ll put it in the envelope, seal it with a kiss and bring it home. That’s where it will stay – not on her mantle, not in her hands. It’s the littlest things that make you weak. It’s the smallest tasks that make you miss her.
Yesterday, we had brunch with my mom’s best friend from 25 years ago. We all miss mom so much. She said, no matter how much time passed between her and my mom, they always picked up like it was just yesterday that they talked. We reminisced about mom, and tears were shed. We drank bloody marys and mimosas, because why not?
And then she said something, she said she went to a seminar and a motivational speaker preached to the audience to instead of picking a New Year’s Resolution, because those don’t work, pick a word for the year. For the last couple of years, her words were – believe, optimistic, focused and joy. At first she didn’t know how you pick them, and the motivational speaker said it just comes to you.
So, at brunch, the word came to me – remember. This year, I will do everything I can to remember my mom in the light that she would of wanted me to remember her. I will remember her before the cancer beat her down. I will remember how she would laugh, throwing her head back, feet would kick up and she’d cackle. I will remember how she would blow her nose, and I would be embarrassed. I will remember how she was the one person that I could go to no matter what. I will remember how she would sneak and buy me a new pair of shoes or a dress, hiding it from my dad. I will remember the relationship that we had. I will remember the good times we shared and the moments that made me so happy to call her my best friend and my mom. I will remember her positive attitude through the most negative time of our lives. I will remember her strength. And, I will remember her how I want to remember her – how I want to paint an image of her.
Starting today, the image of her at her worst will not be the image that dictates how I remember her. It may be the image that pops in my mind when I think about her dying, but it will not be the image that I see when I think of the woman who was my everything.
I encourage you to pick a word.