Last night I excitedly prepped a new crock pot oatmeal recipe for this morning. I figured that the warm pumpkin-y goodness would be welcome after my 5:30 a.m. walk around the neighborhood. Fall found its way to our neck of the woods…even if for a brief while, and the chill in the air has had me craving comfort food. I thought of my mom and how she loved oatmeal. It was one of her favorite foods…and how she was always giving me recipes to try to “spice” it up. Once it was set to go, I excused myself, ran upstairs and threw on some pj’s.
Hubz and I got the kids to bed, and eventually, I settled in for the night. As I was futzing around with my phone, it hit me…like a ton of bricks. Tomorrow is three years. Three years since Mom died. Three years since we said goodbye after her short, brave battle with pancreatic cancer. I looked down. *gasp* I’m wearing her tie-dyed shirt. The one I hastily grabbed from Mom’s dresser the night before she died because I forgot pj’s. Suddenly, the tears flowed…I wasn’t even thinking about what I put on when I got ready for bed..and somehow, I chose to wear her t-shirt. It was like she was giving me a hug from above.
As I drifted to sleep, I thought about all of the things that have happened in the three years since Mom has gone. How big the kids have gotten. How much they have grown, physically and developmentally. How there are two more little ones in the family now. How there are so many questions that I want to ask her and never got the chance to. I felt my heart race. I felt the queasiness of grief take hold of my stomach. Again. After three years. It’s easier to move through the day to day, but moments like these…when it is the anniversary of certain events, that grief rises up and rips me to shreds.
I find it confounding, really. Three years later, and the reminder of her passing away, the anniversary of her death, it just can bring me to that awful place. It’s hard to not think about those awful last days. I try to push out the gut-wrenching images, the sounds, the smells…but they all come back so vividly. I feel overwhelmed. This ache is raw…and it never completely goes away.
Then, then I get a little angry. It’s not fair. It’s not. I never get to see her smile again. Or hear her laugh. Or hear her voice. Or get annoyed with her. Or call her just because. Or see her play with my kids. Or meet her for lunch. Or ask her to watch my boys so we can go on a date night. Or see her get overly excited about her newest grandson. (My sister had her 2nd baby last week!!) Cancer interfered. Stupid, stupid cancer. I focus my anger on the cancer. Because I can.
I think about the boys. Their memories are fading. I retell stories ad-nauseum to remind them of the times we spent with my mom. But, Jake was just shy of 7. Tate was 4. Cole was 14 months. Cole only recognizes her because we reiterate over and over and over again who she is. He doesn’t have any real memories of her. And.that.eats.at.my.soul. Jake recounts a few old stories. But even his memories are often regurgitations of stories that I have shared. And Tate. Tate remembers which nursing home she rehabbed at. And the hospital where she was sick. He knows her by sight in pictures…but it eats at me that he may or may not have his own memories of her.
I fall asleep. It’s fitful…and I have vague dreams. She’s in them…but not. I awake with a sense of calm. I know that today will be okay. I’ll be okay. I go for my walk, and when I return, I post to Facebook. Several people leave words of support and reassurance. And while my heart is heavy, I feel lifted. I feel less alone.
I’m grateful that today is sunny, crisp and cool. It’s the type of autumn day that Mom would have loved. I suppose she may have put in a request today. For a gorgeous day for us, so we don’t have bad weather on top of our heavy hearts. As I walked outside this afternoon to get Tate for therapy, I imagined Mom breathing deeply, walking determinedly, and happily “earning” her sweet treat. (She was always on a diet.)
But, what it all boils down to is this. I miss my mom. Deeply. Profoundly. And nothing really can fix that. *sigh*