Be Merry

I didn’t want to write this post today, but I also don’t want to forget the emotions and memories I’ve made since my mom’s passing, so if I don’t get it down on “paper” now, the vividness will fade.

My mom’s service was just what she would have wanted. Yes there were tears, yes there was sadness, but we did celebrate my mother’s life through funny, but touching speeches, kind words and photographs. I know that everyone who knew my mother is affected by her death, but no one is grieving like my brother and I. It’s hard for people to understand who have never lost a mother. And although their kind words are deeply appreciated, nothing can replace the heartache that I’m feeling deep inside my bones.

I know that time will help me cope, but life will never be the same. There are many good things happening in my life that I’d love to have been able to share with my mother: the love I share with Brian, future races and triathlons, work accomplishments, and other great things that I know will make up my future. But now I must come up with a plan on how I’m going to do all of those things without her, and make sure that our new life without mom is just as fulfilling as it was when she was here.

After the services, we came back to my parents house and Ate, Drank, and were definitely Merry.
We filled our bellies with food.
I cracked open a bottle of champagne and some wine.
We took out the fire pit and lit a campfire in her honor.
We sat around it and told stories of Judy’s life, laughing, drinking and sharing, until the wee hours of the night.

At one moment, for around 10 minutes or so, the wind picked up, and began to swirl the fire’s flames in all directions, lapping at each one of us as it danced. At that moment, we knew my mom was there. Making sure her flame touched every single one of us. (Thanks Meghan).

I know this is a given, but I will never, ever forget my mother. Last night as I sat in the back of the chapel, as guests began to taper, leaving only close family members behind, I noticed, for the first time, all of the mother and daughter relationships that were in the room. It suffocates me to know that I’ll never have another mother.

Although I’m grieving, I know that I still have responsibilities here on this planet. I’m still a daughter. I’m still a sister. I’m still a granddaughter, a girlfriend, niece, cousin, and a friend. I’m still a teacher, and even though it’s of the furry kind, I’m a mother too. Just because one of my roles has ended, that doesn’t mean there aren’t others out there who will need me, and I know that we’ll all get through this together.

Thanks to everyone for your kind words, notes, cards, texts, emails, gifts and thoughts.

I miss you mom.

PS- For those of you who were unable to attend the services, this is the note that my Uncle Marty read that I wrote about my mother:

    When I think about my mother, I will not think about watching her take her very last breath. I won’t think about the cancer, I won’t think about the pain. Because those things were a microscopic part of her huge, full and happy life.
    I will think about Halloween parties she threw, when she had the idea to make a hayride out of Abuelo’s trailer.
    I will think about when she sang Last Dance at the fair, and it was blared over the speakers for all visitors to hear, and how Dad, Jason and I slowly crept away from the recording studio.
    I will think about the time we went up to Blairsville and she almost fell down a waterfall because “she wanted to see over the edge”.
    I will think about trips to the beach seeing her standing in her swimsuit cooking breakfast.
    I will think about trips to Disney Halloween and how she insisted that the Disney employees wouldn’t notice us going through the same trick or treat lines 3, 4, or 17 times.
    I will think about camping trips at Tillis Hills where our days and nights were filled with laughs, 45 minute drives to the local Wal-Mart, and gourmet meals. No matter how far removed from civilization we were, mom could always find a Wal-Mart (she was the original GPS).
    I will think about Christmas Eve parties at Abuelo’s and Christmas mornings at our house, where even at 32 years old, I was still pulling gifts out of a 6 foot tall stocking.
    I will think about crabbing and fishing trips where she always seemed to be the one to catch something first.
    I will think about all the birthday pool parties she threw me, and homemade birthday cakes she made.
    I will think about her being pregnant and giving me the only brother I’ll ever have.
    I will think about her love of board games, and how we would stay up until the wee hours of the night playing her favorite game, Scrabble.
    I will think about trips up to the mountains where she insisted on having a bbq on top of the highest mountain in Georgia with temperatures in the teens. She learned that day that mustard has a freezing point.
    I wish my brain was a computer that I just file each and every memory away in for safe keeping. I know some will stay vivid, while others will fade away with time. I never fully understood the pain she felt when her mother passed away, but now I do.
    I can’t wait for the day to come where I’ll find peace in a photo, find comfort in her belongings and be able to laugh at an empty ketchup bottle on a restaurant table.

5 thoughts on “Be Merry

  1. Stephanie.. beautiful.. this post alone is a tribute to your mom… and it will stay always with you. It was a lovely service.Stay tough chica! See you tonight.

  2. What a wonderful gift you've been given Stephanie. The gift of writing, this was beautifully done. Your mother has an amazing daughter that I'm so glad to know.

  3. Stephanie, That was so beautiful, you have always been an amazing daughter to your mom, I know that she is looking down at you, dad and your Brother Jason with her beautiful smile that she always had no matter what was going on in life… Thankyou for sending this to me…I am here any time for you,Love You always !! Maria & Glenn …

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