My blogger friend Sara from Words to Run By posted this in one of her blog posts tonight:
The 21st of April will mark the one year anniversary of my mother’s unexpected passing. Has it really been that long? Yes? No? Sometimes it feels like it was yesterday, the pain is so fresh, so raw; and yet, other days, I can’t remember something small about her and I feel like it has been decades.
I know exactly how she feels, and she put it into words perfectly.
Lately, my mother is the only thing on my mind. I don’t know when it’s going to happen, but deep in my soul, I know it’s going to be soon.
When you lose someone, and I don’t know why or how this happens, but memories get more and more difficult to recall soon after they pass. It could be a subconscious thing. You don’t want to think about the good times because it hurts too much, so you compress all memories- the good AND the bad- until you’re ready to bring them into your mind again. By then, time has passed, and unfortunately the memories aren’t as vivid and easy to remember, and so yes, a few weeks might feel like a decades.
Although she’s still here with us in person, her mind and body are so far gone that we can’t have those “live like you were dying” moments you see in movies, taking her places and doing all the things she wanted to accomplish and see before her time was up. The best we can do is keep her well fed with her favorite foods, watch TV with her, and make her comfortable and happy. People tell me that I’m lucky to still have her here, but I continue to have mixed emotions about that. Sitting and waiting for the inevitable is torture. It’s a nightmare that I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy. It’s a luxury to be able to “say goodbye”, but it’s the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to face. I never, in my wildest dreams, thought I’d have to confront something like this so early in my life. It hurts even more to know that my brother, who is 9 years younger, has had even less time with her.
Every night I before I go to bed I lay there and stare. Sometimes I cry, sometimes I plan. Sometimes my thoughts are so tangled in my head it consumes me like a rip tide. Sometimes my restlessness wakes up the guy and we have pillow talk moments that temporarily make it all better. There are lots of things in my life right now that are good, and make life temporarily better, but my mother’s terminal illness is something I cannot escape no matter how good my softball game was, how delicious that new recipe I tried came out, or how great a lesson at school went.
Since my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in March of 2011, I have intrinsically dedicated every training, every run, every race to her. No matter what kind of pain, exhaustion, or frustrations I’m feeling while on the pavement or in the water, I think about the pain and suffering she’s gone through, and how I know she’d give anything to be able to even walk one lap at Al Lopez park. I will forever think this way, until I run my very last race, and take my very last breath.
I don’t want to forget my mother. I don’t want to forget the little things that make her who she is. I want to remember it all so that I can tell my children all about the grandmother they never got to meet. I don’t know how I want to organize all these memories that are floating in my head, but I do know that I need to start- before these memories become temporarily painful. For now, I’m going to just make a list as they pop in my head and save them here on this blog. That way they’re electronically available to me anytime I want to read them, update them, share them or ignore them. It won’t be a paper that I might risk losing, and it will give others an opportunity to comment and add their own memories to my list. I swear I feel like a hoarder right now. I want to hoard time. I want to hoard pictures. I want to hoard anything my mother has ever given me. I want to hoard pieces of paper with her handwriting on them, and last text messages and voice mails she left on my phone. I want to hoard clothes and perfumes and anything else smell like my mother. And most of all, I want to hoard memories.
-Camping and making Mickey waffles in the morning (with the special Golden mix from Disney).
-Signing Last Dance at the fair, and totally embarrassing us.
-All night holiday baking (fudgy oatmeal bars, her fav!) with Mary Kelly
-Disney Halloween camping at Fort Wilderness and golf cart shenanigans
-Tillis Hills fire dancing
-Pool birthday parties in the backyard
-Driving the Jeep Wrangler through way too deep mud
-Hugely pregnant with little brother Jason
-Her obsession with QVC, Little House on the Prairie and trash tv (Maury!)
-Jet skiing at Honeymoon Island
-Turtle beach campground
-The little beach houses at Indian Rocks beach
-She loves Dairy Queen dipped cones
-My over sized 6ft Christmas stocking that she insists on filling up every Christmas morning
-Running with me on the Causeway during the last 1/2 mile of my first triathlon
-The 3 story beach house on Indian Shores
-Cracker barrel breakfast
-Trips to Tennessee renting chalets in Gatlinburg
-Camping and cabin trips to Blairsville, freezing our butts of at Trackrock
-Spending hours picking just the right Christmas tree every year
-Chopping down Christmas trees in Blairsville and Gainesville
-She loved to wear black
-She always made boxed yellow cakes with chocolate frosting for everyone’s birthday
-She is the life of the party, and an awesome party planner
-Cookbooks that have her signature inside them
-Disney trick or treating
-Easter egg hunts at Abuelo and Abuelamoms or Horizon Park
-Key West adventures and her favorite beach, Bahia Honda
-Working with her for a year at Egypt Lake
-Dinners, shots and sangria at CDB’s Southside
-Crabbing and fishing in the boat and offshore at Jupiter FL (catching the man eating bluefish!)
-Camping trips and Geocaching with Joe, Chris and the kids
-Scrabble and Uno for hours at the campground
-Noche Buena and opening a mess of gifts at Abuelo and Abuelamom’s house
-Trip to Savannah and eating at Lady and Sons (hoping to see Paula!)
-Our trip to Memphis where mom almost had to shoot someone coming up to the car.
-Our trip to Texas and the 5 minute Alamo stop.
-Putting up the inflatable turkey at Tillis and the inflatable Buc at the back of the truck during superbowl!
-She always wants a brand new ketchup bottle.