Every year the day comes. It comes whether I want it to come or not. The day I wish I could skip because, even with time, the details and feelings of the day do not diminish. I am overcome with sadness, even as each year ticks by.
I can still remember every detail of the morning. The morning my mother finally succumbed to the ovarian cancer that had taken over her body.
Nothing can prepare you to lose your mother. Not a cancer diagnosis that took 18 months to carry out its inevitable end. No conversation. No amount of prayer. Nothing. You would think after a certain amount of time, one would be able to move on. However, this is just not the case. I think one learns to live without their mother, but you never get over it. You never forget. And, you never stop missing her.
My mother was a simply amazing woman. When I look back on my life and what kind of presence she was for the 41 years I had her, I am in awe of what she accomplished.
The Life of a Navy Wife
My mother married my father on November 22, 1962. They weren’t sure they would make it down the aisle due to the Cuban Missile Crises, of which my father was deployed during. They did make it to the wedding and thus began my mom’s life as a Navy Wife.
My sister made her appearance in December of the next year and I followed a few years later. As each anniversary came and went, my mom was the picture of support and love. Many times, she walked silently, behind the scenes, as my father advanced in his Naval career. My mother took on all roles in the family and she supported me in everything as I grew up.
Back to College
She went back to college when I was in high school to get her teaching degree. I was so proud of her….. I don’t know if she knew how much. She worked for about 13 years teaching and I know she had a huge impact on the many students she taught during that time. I would listen to her funny stories of what kids would do and watch her endlessly cut out laminated letters and numbers for her bulletin boards. When she and my dad finally retired they were fortunate to get to travel a great deal. One of my mom’s favorite places was Hawaii.
Cancer ….. It Truly Stinks
Then, my mother started feeling ill. We were in New York for a funeral and I remember her not feeling well at all. Little did we know the silent killer of ovarian cancer had taken over her body and 18 months later she was gone. I know God doesn’t give you anything you can’t handle, but sometimes I really wonder about this. I think about what she has missed and what she will miss. The family milestones, the trips, the successes, the failures- all the advice I need and all the hugs I miss.
Some things I’m thinking about today…….
It was my mother who drove me to countless rehearsals growing up- waiting endless hours in the car- never complaining. She fostered my love of music and theatre, paying for piano lessons and attending all the shows I was in.
It was my mother who flew to England twice in a month to be with me at Christmas AND again two weeks later after Elizabeth was born so I wouldn’t be alone while Elizabeth’s dad was flying in Gulf War 1.
It was my mother who listened to hours of conversation on the phone, offering advice on everything having to do with babies, when it seemed like I didn’t know anything! (And paying upwards of $3 a minute to call England long before there was FaceTime and Skype.)
It was my mother who calmed me and told me it would be alright when I was so tired of being a mom some days.
It was my mother who finally told me “Mary Beth, you’ve had enough” when It was time for me to let go of my horrible marriage.
It was my mother who loved my kids so much, with so much unconditional love, they miss her almost as much as I do.
Living Without Her….
Life throws us so much. I cannot even begin to say how many times I have wanted to pick up the phone and call my mom and talk to her about things. Goodness, I just miss her so much. Everyone says, “she’s here with you, watching over you”. Well I don’t feel it! Where is it? Why can’t I feel it? Am I trying too hard? WHERE IS SHE????? I wonder- “Am I doing something wrong? Is that why I can’t feel her? Am I not trying hard enough?” Sometimes it is just too much. I feel like I’m forgetting what her voice sounded like.
So as I face this anniversary, I’m still missing my mom. I will celebrate her life and the wonderful mother and friend she was to me. I will cry and I will smile, and I will wake up and face another day without my mother.
And I will go on. She would want it that way. She wouldn’t put up with feeling sorry for yourself for too long.
She’d also tell you to make sure you have lipstick on.
I miss you, mom – and I love you so much…..
Take Z Challenge- call your mother. There will be a day when you can’t.