i will never be the same

on her 45th birthday. 9 days before she passed away

our family on her 45th birthday. 9 days before she passed away

“My Mom died from a diabetes on 2012. “

That’s my “tag line” when people ask me about her. It sums up all the information they need. But for me, it carries a greater reality I felt when she died – that I will never be the same.

I will never be the same . . . as I was before.

In some ways, I see life as a puzzle – every experience you have forms a piece of your unique puzzle. When combined, they form the entire picture of your life. My Mom took a piece of my puzzle with her, a piece that will never return. I am incomplete without it, without her. We shared memories that nobody else shares, which means she knew me differently than anyone else.

When someone you love dies, that part of you dies as well. You can’t re-live that memory with anyone else. Your puzzle may grow, but you can never replace that missing piece. And because of that, I will never be the same again.

My view of the world also changed. Before Mom died, I was young, innocent, and naive. I saw God’s beauty in the smallest things – plants starting to bud, cocooning butterflies, the exact color blue of the sky. When I had questions, Mom would answer them. She always had the answers. The world had infinite joys to discover and I had endless curiosity. Life seemed to go on forever and I never thought about death.

After the funeral, that all changed. I lost my mom my hero, and my teacher. I thought a lot about death and dying. I still had plenty of questions, but nobody to answer them. And they certainly weren’t fun questions.

So I learned things on my own – great big things that I couldn’t have understood any other way. I learned the importance of telling people that you love them. Don’t ever let them wonder how you feel. Of all the things I regret, missing the chance to say “I love you” will never be one of them. I also learned to never pass up an opportunity to give or receive a genuine hug.

When Mom was dying, I was terrified. I didn’t know how to act, what to say, so I sat in silence.

She asked me, “Aren’t you going to give me a hug?”

When we hugged, she started to cry. That memory has broken my heart ever since. She never should have had to ask. There are few words and fewer acts that can convey more emotion, more truth than a hug. They are the simplest, most perfect way to ease despair, to share joy, to demonstrate empathy, or to show love. Anyone who knows me knows that my hugs are free and frequent.

I will never be the same . . . as someone who hasn’t lost a parent. One of the hardest things about losing a parent is feeling that nobody understands. Even worse is feeling different and seeing those differences every day. When your friend shows you a dress her mom bought for her, or you see how happy her mom looks when she garduated from college or when they complain about something their mom did . . . you know you’re not the same.

Your “memory playlist” is shorter. You can’t add more memories and you can’t relate to your friends with longer playlists. It hurts, it’s lonely, and there are some days you’d do almost anything to be the same . . . as you were, as they are.

But sometimes being different can be a good thing. At first with bitterness, now with acceptance, I realized that there is no promise of tomorrow. You are given such a small time, and you never know when your time will run out. Many people don’t truly appreciate this. How can they if they’ve never had to think about death? So treasure your life, make it worthwhile. Spend your life doing things that make you happy because you may not have the chance later.

My life has been fuller, more beautiful, and more fun because I take chances that come to me. If my mom hadn’t died, would I always have played it safe? Would I have jumped out of that bungee-jumping? Would I have swum with dolphins or learned to scuba dive? Would I have hiked that mountain? Something tells me maybe not.

Because of my mom’s death, I will never be the same. I traded innocence and “fitting in” for understanding and appreciation. I lost my mom but gained something in return. Would I give up everything I’ve learned if I could have my mom back? I don’t have that option.

The only option I have is to make those changes as valuable as possible. If mom can see me, I want her to know that she’s still teaching me and still answering my questions.

i miss you mom. and i will always love you :*

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