Hey ya’ll. I’m back from my little hiatus here. I made it through another holiday season without my mom. I thought this one would be a little easier, but it wasn’t. I don’t know that they will ever be easier. I was really doing great until Christmas Eve night, after many bottles of wine, while my husband and I were wrapping the last of the presents. Finally, in the quiet, I allowed myself to imagine what that day would have been like if she were still alive. Her and I would have been wrapping presents, drinking wine, together. We would have exchanged presents, and I would have opened the perfect gift from her, just what I would have wanted. She always had a way of giving the best presents, ones you didn’t even think of for yourself, but that you loved. We would have had quiche for breakfast, like we always did every Christmas morning before that. I think that’s still the part that gets me the most – the what if thoughts. What if she were still alive? How would my life be different? It’s a dangerous game, but I just can’t help myself sometimes. Sometimes I like to get lost in imagining.
I’ve had some things come up with my oldest daughter that make me wish she were here. Growing up conversations that I don’t want to mess up, I so wish she was here for. I have so many questions. What an ironic twist of fate that the person I spent most of my life thinking knew nothing turns out to be the one person I wish was still around to teach me. I wish so badly I could tell her this, and how sorry I am to have spent most of my life not realizing. Not realizing she actually knew everything and I don’t know dick, not realizing that she was only ever trying to help me and teach me things, and most of all, that time was running out. I think back to the time right before she died, all the time, trying to find the clues she could have given that something was wrong. The only thing she ever said was that her back hurt. Even with that vague of a description, I still feel like I should have known something was wrong. How different things would be if I had known.
The most recent heartbreaking event though, happened just the other day. A friend’s mother passed away, most tragically, after waiting for what seemed like forever for the lung transplant she so desperately needed. She developed a fever mere hours before her surgery was supposed to take place, and had to delay her transplant. She subsequently had a stroke and died hours later. Her daughter, my sister’s friend, is the age I was when my mom died. How are we all so fucking young and motherless? She, like my sister, is getting married this year and will have a beautiful wedding day, without her mother. How in the fuck does this keep happening to people? I immediately broke down upon learning the news. Because I know the feelings she has now and the ones that are yet to come, and it just breaks my heart that someone else has to ever feel these things. It is the hardest thing I’ve ever lived through, and I wouldn’t wish this pain on my worst enemy. It makes me remember when I was in that place, just a year and a half ago, and just like that, I am back to May 11, 2016 and my world has just been turned upside down. The heartbreak is fresh and real and brings tears to my eyes instantly.
Her and I were talking about the days “before”, how wonderfully normal our lives were before this happened. It was, coincidentally, the premise of the last episode of, “This Is Us,” this past week, showing the audience what the day before looked like for the Pearson’s. It made me think about our “before”, and it made me cry to watch it, because I know the devastating sadness that is waiting for them on the other side. How wonderfully ignorant they are, thinking there is more time, more days, more moments. I last spoke to my mom the day before she died. It was the day after Mother’s Day. She told me about her day, she worked at The Bistro, and I complained the entire time. I was pregnant and hormonal, and had a rough day with Isabel and my husband. And I complained, on the last day of my wonderful life, the last day I would have my mother, about how horrible it was. I spent the last moments with my mom on this planet, and I wasted them, complaining. I wasted them. It’s my life’s biggest regret, that I didn’t know. I didn’t know it was the last time I would talk to her, hear her voice, say I love you and have her say it back to me. How different that conversation would have been if I had known. And even though I know it is impossible to have known, I should have known. I should have been able to save her. And so the guilt that all of the Pearson children seem to have, I know that feeling all too well. The regret and the pain and the sadness, I know all of those guys real well. They are with me at all times.
So I’m leaving you all today with a quote I stole from the latest Grey’s Anatomy episode, because it’s particularly fitting for the moment we’re living in. “When you look back on your life, the only thing that matters is, did you spend it doing what you love with the people you love? Were you happy? Did you make the most of this beautiful, terrifying messed up life? Did you let go of all the things that held you back, so you can hold onto what matters most?” Isn’t it funny how these things have a way of finding us, right when they fit into our lives? Maybe my life should be a goddamn tv show. What should we call it? I’m gonna go with Death is a Real Bitch for now. It’s a working title, but I like it.
Until next time friends..