Though I feel I am in a good place this year, I sit here in tears after writing this post. I also feel compelled to post links to some of the other posts about my mother and her death in order to provide background for new readers (we've moved again and made new friends!) and to again encourage even my young friends to care for their hearts and their health in general.
20 years ago, maybe right about now, I crawled into bed with my mother. She admonished me for staying up late and sleeping in all summer. Tomorrow would be my first day of eighth grade; my first Tuesday of before-school flute sectionals with our new band director; my first day of volleyball practice.
It would turn out to be the first day of my life without Mom.
20 years later, there is still a space in my heart that nothing can ever fill and I'm positive I don't want it gone. I will miss her for the rest of my life. I will miss her on behalf of my husband, my children, even my in-laws who were not lucky enough to know the love and laughter of my mother. I will miss her, and in my best moments I will be glad for it.
This year I am finding a lot of gratitude for the 13 years, 7 months, 7 days, and handful of hours I had with her. Somehow, I have come through her death and the ensuing chaos of my adolescence and found that adulthood feels like a happy ending in progress. I have to give her credit for the foundation she gave me.
Two decades since she died, and I wonder if it really has been twenty years without her. Sure, she isn't physically here. I can't turn to her for advice or a kick in the pants or a shoulder to cry on when things are less-than-ideal. But her influence lives on in so many ways.
So here's to more than 13 years. And to all the firsts I had with my mom in the flesh, and all those I had and continue to have with her in my heart.
Tomorrow I will honor her by treating myself to a massage and enjoying a dinner party with my husband.
Rest in peace, Mom. You did good. I am grateful and proud to call you my mom.