My mom wasn’t just a mother to me. I considered her to be my life long best friend, which is why her passing away on December 28, 2014 has been the most difficult trial of my life to date. As with most major life events, there were things I was told would happen and emotions I was warned about. However, now that a year has come and gone, I have noticed there are things that I didn’t expect as much.
1. I didn’t expect to deal well. The idea of my mom dying had been one of my worst fears, and I assumed my life would be over as well. I was afraid I might lose interest in all my passions, become depressed and withdrawn, and resort to destructive behavior to deal with the grief. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case at all. Her death did change many things and I have grieved, but day by day I got back into my normal routines. Soon I found that I would be able to maintain my sense of self and move on with my life while staying happy and healthy.
2. I didn’t expect to be stunned by women who look like her. Every once in a while, I will be going about my business when my breath is suddenly taken away by strange women who resemble my mom: Petite frame, similar style of clothes, same type of dyed blonde hair, and glasses. A couple of times it has been like seeing a ghost and it sends all kind of feels through me, but I know they are only strangers, with their own stories in life.
3. I never thought I’d get so angry with people who take their parents for granted. It makes my heart hurt when I hear people complaining about their parents or talking about them in a rude or insulting way, or any instances where I don’t feel as though they are giving their parents enough love or respect. I find myself wanting to wag my finger at these people and tell them that their parents won’t be around forever. You don’t want to be one of those people who says something mean to their parents before you find out something bad happened to them. I’m at complete peace with the bond I had with my mom, but I have to remember that everyone has different relationships with their parents, and I shouldn’t jump to conclusions or invalidate how anyone else feels about theirs.
4. I have become proud to be like her. When I was younger, I rolled my eyes any time someone said I looked like or acted like my mom. Kids often think of their moms as uncool and out of touch, and I always wanted to be more of my own person than someone who was similar to her. Then I grew up and suddenly being compared to her became okay. My mom was beautiful, sweet, and sassy at times. She had a good sense of humor and loved us with everything she had. Now that she is gone, being told I am anything like her is the biggest compliment in the world.
5. I am comforted by hearing her favorite songs. Whenever a song she liked comes on the radio, I feel as if she is there. “Dancing Queen” by ABBA. “Jack and Diane” by John Mellencamp. “Tiny Dancer” or “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” by Elton John. These songs bring back very specific and special memories through the years, and they mean so much more to me now as they come with a feeling of appreciation that I have been fortunate enough to have such memories.
6. I have become more curious about life and death. I suppose everyone wonders about why we are here, how we got here, and where we go (if anywhere) when we die. I didn’t expect my mom’s death to cause me to become even more confused and in need of answers. I don’t really consider this a bad thing though. Even though I know there will always be questions left unanswered, this has sparked some much needed thinking and reading that has become essential for my healing process.
7. I still hold the desire to make her proud. When my mom was still alive, one of the things I loved most was trying to make her proud of my growth and accomplishments. I loved seeing her pleased with how I was doing in life, and I thought that losing her would cause me to also lose that particular sense of purpose. To my surprise, I have found that the will to make her smile still lingers within me, so I continue to keep kicking ass and taking names with her honor in my heart.