Today is the day my Mom died. 15 years ago. Just writing that sentence makes my eyes want to tear up. Even after all of these years. This year was the first year that it hadn’t been on my mind continuously and I almost even forgot. For a moment. 15 years sounds like a long time, and it is. But it doesn’t always feel like a long time.
The first few (maybe 7-8) years were the worst. The first anniversary was the day after the space shuttle Columbia blew up. So add that tragedy. Oh, and the fact that my stepfather had just died 2 weeks earlier and my siblings were going psycho. So I think the term would be shit-storm for that period of time.
Well, I don’t want to get into all of that. Today is the 15th anniversary of losing my Mom. I was there, with her, when she left. She was at home and we’d been taking turns sitting with her. I was horrified to think that she would leave while I was asleep so I didn’t get but a few hours a day. As it turned out, she waited until the two of us that had taken care of her were the only ones there, and not the ones who couldn’t be bothered.
We know she went to Heaven. A few days earlier she’d told us that Jesus came & talked to her and told her that everything was going to be alright and that he would come back and take her with him. I think back now and wonder why I didn’t ask more questions about that. Like what did he look like, sound like, how did it feel? But I think the reason why is that the questions I did ask, she didn’t answer. I don’t think she was able or allowed to answer them. She just ignored the questions. But after that, she was so much more calm and unafraid.
We saw several miraculous signs between that time and the end. All were reassuring. She was under so much morphine that she wasn’t conscious, insomuch as she looked to be sleeping. I don’t know if she could hear us or not, but we talked and even laughed in that room with her. I know she would’ve been very happy to hear us laugh. We told her we loved her, many times. I know that she already knew that, but we said it anyway.
As I write this, it feels like it just happened. It’s very difficult to write. For those of you who have recently lost a parent or loved one, it actually does get better. You never forget, you never stop loving them and the pain is still there. But it loses some of the sharpness year by year. I am able to deal with it much better now. Before, in the early years, I couldn’t talk about her without breaking down, I couldn’t look at pictures and I refused to go by the place I grew up in. It was like a knife in my heart. I don’t know exactly when, because it was gradual, but I got to where I could talk about her. I could look at the things that used to be hers and I even went by the homestead a time or two. It didn’t hurt as bad. My love for her took the place of a lot of the pain and helped me to deal with it.
I’ve felt her presence many times and I feel that she has helped me in some ways. It’s hard to explain. I know that she taught me to be a good person, to be honest and truthful. To appreciate the people around me. To appreciate the little things, because a lot of times they’re not just little things. Those teachings will always be with me. They are the things that I have taught Dear Son and they are the legacy that she leaves.