I can’t recall how many times I’ve thought about my mom over the past 2 years. Quite possibly more times than when she was here on earth. I wake up thinking of her when I feel my #TeamJudy bracelet slide against my wrist. I think about her when I look in the mirror each morning, and see faint resemblances of my mom in my own reflection. Sometimes I think of her when I hear her voice through my own words as I talk throughout the day. Oftentimes a song will come on the radio and ignite a memory.
And then there are times when life is quiet, and I’m purposefully reflecting on stories and moments I want to make sure to never forget.
When I started this chapter of my life 2 years ago, I never dreamed that I would be able to think about my mom without sobbing uncontrollably. While there are still times when the idea of her passing overwhelms me, those times have become less frequent as I get accustomed to writing these new pages in my own life’s story.
I receive so many questions through my blog and social media on how to deal with the loss of a parent. And while I’ve always avoided the “it gets better with time” phrase, I do try to make them understand that grief is different for everyone. There is no timeline on when you are supposed to be done. No expectations. No rules. It’s grief. It’s a feeling. It’s in your heart. And the more you loved someone, the harder it will be to learn to cope with that loss. That is how life works.
Although there’s a big part of my life that’s missing, so much good has happened over the past 2 years. So much love has been shared through sweet moments, new life, adventures, advocacy, accomplishments. It’s in those moments that I miss my mother the most. And as I think about what’s to come, I can’t help but miss her even more. There are so many chapters of my life left to write, and I don’t always know how I’ll write them without her. But I will.
Friends, life is beautiful. It’s special. It’s meaningful. Notice those around you. Ask people how they’re doing. Make time for friends. Don’t lose sight of what’s important. Go on vacations. Put yourself in other’s shoes. Fall in love. Pay attention to your children (even if they’re already grown). Visit your grandparents. Create opportunities to give back. Call your mother.
#TeamJudy forever. -Steph
If there is a heaven, then my mom is there catching up with her family and friends of days gone by. Her heaven is a house on the seashore where she awakes every morning to the sound of gulls and crashing waves.
Her mornings are filled with freshly cooked bacon, walks on the beach and swims in crystal turquoise waters. Sometimes she floats. Sometimes she snorkels. Sometimes she wades up and down the shore casting out her fishing pole hoping for a bite. Sometimes she lays in the warm sand, working on her favorite word search puzzle soaking up the perfect sunshine without a care in the world.
Her friends and family come to visit and they feast on meals made of old family recipes chatting about the good old days over sweet cups of piping hot cafe con leche. The sound of dominoes clicking and sliding against the table can be heard until the wee hours of the night as they enjoy the long lost company of one another.
Sometimes days are filled with trips to her favorite places, driving around in a red convertible to the songs of Donna Summer. Mom, in her happiest place, shopping at big retail stores, crunching on bags of freshly popped popcorn and sipping ice cold cups of Coca Cola as she pushes her cart along the aisles.
When the days get cooler, her heaven is a campground where her and her mom sneak away for cozy mountain trips. Conversations about life and family fill their days as they sit by warm campfires under millions of stars.
And on silent nights, when the heavens are calm, my mom sleeps and dreams of us, just as we sleep and dream of her here on Earth. She sees our successes, listens to our worries, and laughs with us during our craziest of times.
And on those very peaceful nights where we are lucky enough to meet, we reunite in those dreams, talking about life and creating memories that no photograph can capture.