Memories just aren’t enough…
So many people told me when Mom died, that memories would be my comfort. That eventually I would look at them and smile and the pain would be less.
I still don’t believe them. I have a lot of memories of my Mom that do make me smile… and I like the smiling, but I don’t like the memories.
Because the memories aren’t what I want. Memories aren’t enough. Memories are sand slipping through my fingers when I want to hold my Mother’s hand. Memories are my arms full of air when I want to be held by her.
I wrack my brain trying to remember exactly how she would have said a phrase, or exactly what she would have sounded like reacting to some bit of news. I try to remember the way her eyes crinkled, or what it looked like when she walked… but I can’t. It’s easier when I put it in the context of a specific memory, but it’s till fuzzy around the edges, and it’s still not her.
Sobbing to my husband last night I told him that in some ways I feel like I can’t remember what she was like when she was well. I do in some ways. Those days were more numerous. But the problem is, I wasn’t paying attention on the days she was well. It took her getting really sick with a disease with a survival rate of less than 5% for me to really start looking at her and treasuring up each moment with her, or even each moment spent knowing that she was somewhere else… but that she was… It took that earth shattering news for me to stop taking my Mother’s presence for granted.
Parents are always there–and especially Mom’s. I see it in Little Miss already–she just expects me to be there. Daddy time comes in bursts, but Mommy is always there. It changes the quality of our interactions. Those with me are just as sweet–but different. At 18 months she can already take it for granted that I will always be there.
As a 24 year old, you think I would have known better. I’d moved 2000 miles away from my Mom, but she was still always there. Always at the other end of the line of the phone. Always willing to spend the money and get on the plane or in the car to get to me for any reason or no reason in particular.
And now she’s not here anymore. My brain can’t get itself around that fact. It can understand that for the last 14 months of my life she’s been gone, but it still does not understand that for however many more years I may live she will still be gone.
And that’s what really hurts–The 14 months up to this day have been hard enough, but the hardest thing is that today isn’t the last day. That she won’t come back in a month. That I will wake up each and every day of the rest of my life and it will be void of her. She won’t be here to ooo and ahhh over this next baby. She can’t be here to tell me what it is that I did at 18 months that delighted or exasperated her when I relate stories of Little Miss. She can’t sympathize with me in my morning sickness–these things–these incredibly precious things that a daughter and a mother are supposed to share and bond over will never be mine again.
And remembering her–Smiling over the funny things she used to say, or unique stories that accentuate the amazing, funny, or steely-strong person that she was–It’s not enough when all I want is her.
And this is what grief is.