Yesterday, I visited my mom at her grave. And as I stood on the wet, soppy ground I talked with her. I told her how much I missed her and how each day is a struggle without her. As I looked at her grave marker the tears flowed uncontrollably and the wind started whipping around. I asked her how she was doing in heaven, if she was happy about the UCONN women winning, I updated her on my life since the last time I visited her. I told her how much I missed her and how I still can’t believe she is gone.
And as I stood there talking with her, again it became real. Sometimes I don’t realize she really is gone. I can’t touch her, hug her, kiss her or drink wine with her; but for some reason I don’t think she’s dead; I think she’s just at a rehab facility or Smilow Cancer Hospital.
When I arrive at her grave, it becomes real all over again. This is where I come to see her. This is the place I now come to visit. It’s where my mom lays. It’s where her body rests.
The other day I was writing thank you notes to everyone who sent their love and support during the most difficult time in our lives. I reached Father Dom’s (our priest) thank you note, and as I wrote I heard a knock. Our dogs started barking and ran to the door. To my surprise, no one was there. I went back to writing my thank you and just as I began, another knock. The dogs ran again to the door, then ran and looked out the window. Nothing. But then as I sat there and remembered that people have been telling me over and over to be open to the signs, I smiled and a couple tears filled my eyes. It was mom.
I’ve said it before, mom had this personality that was infectious, but her personality also had a very large piece of neurotic mom and wife. Constantly checking on dad and I and making sure she knew exactly what we were doing, when we were doing it, why we were doing it and if it was safe for us to be doing it. She kept tabs on us always. At 24, she would still tell me to text her when I got home, or tell me not to drive my car because it might be icy. So naturally, it makes sense for her to send signs frequently.
I bought an owl garden gnome in honor of the first sign we ever received from mom. I put it in our garden as protection and also to remind me of how lucky we are to have such an amazingly, beautiful angel looking down on us. Now, everyday when I come home, I see it and I take a minute to look at it, even sometimes saying “Hi, Mom.”
The other day, I came home from work, and instead of my usual glass of wine, I craved a Diet Coke. I’m not a usual soda drinker, but occasionally its DELICIOUS! So as I prepped dinner I sipped on my Diet Coke. After about 30 minutes of my chicken in the oven, I checked on it and when I went to grab for my Diet Coke, I realized – it was one of the cans that were part of the Coke name campaign – and it said MOM. I was frozen and held back my tears, washed the can and it is now sitting on our kitchen counter. Mom, you really are telling us your watching.
Each day is so hard and sometimes I wonder how in the world I will make it through. There are days I don’t want to talk, some days when all I want to do is lay in my bed and cry, some days when I want to scream, some days when I ask myself “Did I do something to deserve this?” But, what keeps me standing and what keeps me from curling up in my bed or crying all day is the fact mom would never want that for me; but even more so, for the first time in a LONG time, mom is healthy, mom is cancer free.
But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a struggle every day. That doesn’t mean that when I see people with their moms it’s not hard. That doesn’t mean that I am not dreading Mother’s Day and anytime I walk in the store and see Mother’s Day cards, decorations or gifts my eyes swell up with tears and I turn my head as fast as possible and turn my direction.
My mom is not here anymore. She will always be with me, but she’s not here physically. And that is something that hurts the most. It hurts that I can’t hug her. It hurts that I can’t touch her. It hurts that this has changed our family so much. It hurts not having her here. And I feel bad. I feel bad that she won’t be here for so many things. I feel bad that my dad has to go home and be alone. I feel bad that anytime someone says her name or talks about her I have to swallow hard to stop the tears from filling my eyes. I feel bad that it’s come to this.
I want my mom. I want her back. I need her.