Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day

Holidays after someone has died feel like you're stuck in an awful time loop. Some are worse than others.
Mom died on Valentine's Day 2011.
Today is Mother's Day.

Each of these holidays represent opportunities for you to be ambushed at the grocery store with decorations, overwhelmed by Facebook posts, bamboozled by ads on television. Don't get me wrong, I don't begrudge anyone their happiness, or their pleasant day if that's what they have. But the single line that goes through my head is the line I started saying 15 February 2011 and haven't ceased to say everyday since:

I want my Mommy back. 

Perhaps all of this is hitting me harder this year because I'm selling the house. The house I bought just for Mom. The house where she loved sitting on the porch and reading in the sun. Watching the goings-on of the neighborhood. Playing with Nehi. Making it her own- picking out the paint and where everything went. Knowing that no one could ever kick her out. The house where she died.
And as I finish the first year of my PhD program, there's not a day that goes by where I don't think what a kick she'd get out of all of this. How much she'd love the pictures of Albuquerque, of hearing the stories of people I meet, listening to stories about my students.
I recognize the paradox- I would be unable to do this if she were still alive. I would still be in NC, in that house, taking care of her.
And you know what? As much as I love it here, and love what I'm doing- I would trade it all for one more day with my Mom. One day to tell her I'm sorry, that I wish I'd paid more attention, that if I knew how little time we had I would have done more.
Maybe this year is harder too because at Christmas Dad announced he didn't want any of her stuff and either we needed to take it or he was getting rid of it.
Maybe it's harder because it feels like my last link to her has been severed.
Maybe it's just hard.
Maybe this day, like Valentine's Day is always going to be hard. Maybe it never gets easier. Maybe you never get over this.

There are days where I feel like I'm the only one who cares. Who remembers. Who cries. Who mourns.

I surround myself with pictures of her and us, desperately afraid of forgetting a single thing. I don't want to forget that she used to sleep at the end of my bed when I was little and scared. Or that she always left my bedroom window open, even in winter, so Peter Pan could get in. That she believed in magic. How she never walked a beach without her head bowed down looking for beach class and cool shells- the collection that I have sitting in my living room. How I could always find her in a store by the sound of her bangle bracelets. How her face lit up on Christmas and birthdays. How her answer to almost anything was a hug. And how she'd tickle my neck, making me giggle when she did. The joy she took in the long line of kitties we had, and how much she adored Nehi.  How even as an adult, she would set my coffee maker in the morning and leave me cute Post-Its to start my day. Whenever I told her about a rough day, or issues I had, she was always my biggest champion- ready to charge into a fight to defend me.
She was always so proud of me going to school. Of being a teacher. She would love me being out here. She always said she saw me on a college campus. One specifically with ivy covered buildings. It's hard not to think of her all the time.

There's not a single day that goes by that I don't feel her with me. And that I don't miss her. I wish she was here. I wish I could tell her about my life. I wish I could talk to her. Hug her. Tell her how much I love her.
But I can't. And I never will be able to.
So I look at her pictures. And I pick up and set down all her knick-knacks I have. And I cry. And I envy all the people posting cheerful brunch pictures of them and their mothers today. And I hope that tomorrow is better.

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