We are constantly told that death is an inevitability of life. That if there is anything certain, it’s death. We are told this countless times and we are reminded of it in every proverb or every dramatic life quote we stumble upon. I guess those proverbs or words of wisdom failed to inform me just how much death would plague a then 16 year old me especially when it was her mother that was taken away.
1. She was always right.
A moody teenage girl and a nagging mother never made a good combination. What more a teenage girl that was exactly like her mother? Two people with the same personalities, they were bound to clash. Pride always got in the way and harsh words were always exchanged but one thing reigned, my mom was right about everything. From the small bad habits I picked up that would surely form into fatal flaws when I grew up to something as simple as that hideous flannel shirt I shouldn’t have bought, she was always right.
2. Time spent together would never be enough.
Growing up in a tight knit family felt suffocating especially when all I ever desired was to step out of the familial shadow. I would often be forced to spend time with them instead of going out with my friends which I loathed. Having to go home much earlier from parties because “mom has an early day at the hospital tomorrow” to “I’m sorry no one can bring you to your friend’s house because mom is stuck in the hospital until tomorrow.” It’s quite funny how those mere minutes of being in the car with my mom or those early lunch dates I hated getting ready for are the ones I long for now.
3. That day would forever be embedded on your mind.
The day I lost my mom was something I could tell from the minute I woke up to the second I closed my eyes to sleep. And it’s that very same reason why I still suffer from insomnia and the occasional panic attacks. I will never forget the way it felt from start to finish because it’s something that changes you, turns you inside out to the point where you probably think you’ve already lost your sanity with the way pain wracks your entire being and I have never been the same since then.
4. Guilt is a bitch.
The petty arguments, the misunderstandings, the miscommunications. Nothing haunts me more than the naive and shallow choices I made that kept me from spending time with my mom or have made her unhappy for even just a minute. Nothing haunts me more than the days that I just so carelessly spit out words that surely made her doubt the way she was raising her first born. Nothing haunts me more than the I should have’s because God damn, you should have when she was still here.
5. It will still hurt, no matter how long it’s been.
Birthdays will never be the same. Christmas will always feel incomplete. There is a gap, a missing piece in every family picture, every Holiday card, every vacation and those are when it will hit you. It will hit on the death anniversaries, on her birthdays, on the empty closet, on the graduation and when it hits, it will hit hard. Grief will take over again as if that day is happening all over again. Other times, it will hit when a mother and her daughter are having lunch right beside your table or when you don’t see a “Mom” on your gift right beside “Dad” The day you realize you don’t remember the sound of her voice or the warmth of her hug will feel like the world was crushing you with all its might and five years from now, maybe it won’t hurt as much but you can’t ignore that small pang in your chest when someone asks you “Where’s your Mom?”
How I managed to get through that rainstorm is beneath me. There are still days that the word “Mom” makes me flinch but then there are also days when the word “Mom” is the only topic I could go on talking about. If I were to travel back in time to talk to that scared 16 year old crying in the corner of that ICU room, I’d tell her “Mom wants you to keep going.”