When I was given the news that my mother only had a short time left to live, I began hoarding anything and everything that reminded me of her. Greeting cards, papers, mementos. Anything really. I collected these things from old boxes, drawers and other storage areas in hopes to keep ahold of as much of my mother I as could. Although I hadn’t even lost her at the time, I knew in my bones that it was coming.

For a few days after my mother’s passing, I was overwhelmed with the “stuff” she owned. You really don’t think about it when someone is alive, but once they’re not physically here anymore, everywhere you look, you see them. From items like jewelry and keepsakes to simple things like contact lens cases and shoes. The person is literally everywhere, and it’s a very final feeling.

I knew I couldn’t keep everything. It would be impossible to. And even though we’ve donated her clothing and have begun to organize at my Dad’s house, Mom is still everywhere. Something as tiny as tube of lipstick sitting in the top drawer in the bathroom is enough to put tears in my eyes. I mean, when someone passes, every remnant of their being is still apparent. It’s a very weird feeling to see her handwriting on scrap papers in her purse, her hair wrapped up around a hairbrush, or frozen foods in the freezer that you know she bought, and know that the person doesn’t exist anymore. I know, I know, she exists in my heart and in memories. I get that. But I’m a science teacher. Of course I find comfort in the memories and the thought that one day we may be reunited again in some realm or aspect. But at the end of the day, you know my mind goes directly to the science side of things. It’s a difficult reality to grasp. I will continue to live my life here on Earth never interacting with my mother on a physical level again. Yes, I see her in my dreams, in my memories and maybe in my future children one day. But it’s not the same. And until someone actually experiences the loss of a parent, especially as young as I did, they will never truly understand how I feel.

As hard as it is to write these emotions down, I can only imagine how difficult it must be to read them. It does help me though. Blogging has become a way for me to express the words I have difficulties expressing verbally. It’s just who I am.

I don’t want to say I dreaded the first Mother’s day without my Mom. I knew that I wanted to make it special. I did not want to stay at home festering in sadness. I originally had plans made with friends and even some family members, but in the end Mr. KKM and I decided to forgo all plans and just enjoy a quiet day together. We ended up going back to bed and sleeping in until almost 10am, then hitting up Lupton’s for one of our favorites: brunch. He then took me shopping, then to a local favorite farmer’s market before we came home at vegged out on the couch for a while watching the Rays game.

While he finished the game, I whipped up a batch of oatmeal raisin cookies from scratch, then invited my brother and dad over for a barbecue. After the burgers we headed out back to the park behind the house for a little early evening Geocaching with the pups, and a little romp by the Hillsborough River. It may have seemed like a laid back typical day, but it was a very special one indeed.

While shopping I stumbled across something I didn’t, at the time, know I was looking for: A memory box. 

I took the most special belongings of my mothers, as well as a few common everyday items of hers that I wanted to hold on to, and filled the box with them. 
(The Mickey Mouse bag has all of her makeup in it)
(She loved Halloween and attached those Mickey ears to that pumpkin light)
(There’s a picture of us at the bottom, her license, the corks from the champagne and wine we drank after her wake and the last Valentine’s day card she gave me).

I know as time goes on I’ll find more items to put into the box. For now, this is a great start. Before I closed it I placed a pair of my mom’s pajamas inside as well as a pair of the Crocs she loved to wear at the beach and going around town.

I don’t know how often I’ll open up the memory box to look through it, but I’m glad to know it’s there for when I need it. I know that it’s just another tool in my “grieving my mother” toolkit to help me learn to deal. If there’s one thing I know about myself, is that I’m notorious for my “figure it out” attitude. And you know what? Although the loss of my mom is a huge loss, I’ll figure it out as I go along.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there. And if you’re missing your mother like I am, I hope you were able to find the silver lining today like I did.


4 thoughts on “Memories

  1. Dear Stephanie, That is so beautiful, I have been thinking of your mom all day and you, dad and jason.. My heart still can't get over that Judy is not here with us any more.. But I know that she is looking down at all of you with her beautiful smile … we miss your mom so much.. Life will never be the same with out her.. Love to you always.. Maria and Glenn

  2. and you tell me that I'm a good writer? You made me cried with this. I'm glad you were able to find that silver lining.And i'm so positive that she is looking at you and smiling with you.

  3. Steph, this absolutely made me cry. I can't even imagine how hard this was for you or how you're feeling. But I think this is a fabulous idea! xoxo

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