5 Years ago today:
I was 26 years old; I was sitting on my couch holding my sleeping baby:
he was 20 days old; and not due until tomorrow.
My mom died, she was 58 years old.
This post is mostly for therapy. I have three main focuses: my grief, my mom, and some complaining.
Grief is such a personal experience for the individual it belongs to, and this one is mine.
Just because today is the anniversary of the single most surreal experience of my life doesn’t make the wound anymore raw, I don’t miss her more today than I did yesterday or will in 42 days, next spring, or in 10 years. I miss her everyday, and mourn everyday. My heart nerve endings hurt, they’ve been cut with a butterknife, still, 1,826 days later.
One of the must hurtful, and honestly unintelligent questions or statements anyone could say to me regarding my sadness would be:
‘Aren’t you so grateful for the atonement (insert: eternal families, or any other church doctrine)?’, or ‘You’ll get to see her again after the resurrection!’
Well: ‘Duh!’ I am grateful for the atonement, and I do know I will get to see her again someday. But I want to see her today. I’m not good at waiting.
Part of my defense mechanism has been to forget specifics, I’m working on that, and these are things that are vital for me to not forget:
I love my mom.
People my mom loves:
My mom is fun and funny.
She is sunny, except for right upon waking. She used to sing a song (she didn’t remember all of the words) ‘Oh how I hate to get up in the morning! Oh, how I’d love to remain in bed! Someday I’m going to murder that bugler; someday they’re going to find him dead!’ She believes those words 100%. I remember on Sundays she would say she was going to go take a nap, and I would beg her not to, because she would wake up so cranky.
One time my sister Emily and I were playing “Don’t wake the dragon”, the gist of this game was to see how close we could get to the ‘dragons’ face without waking her (mom is the dragon). She was sleeping in our red high-backed chair in the front room and snoring (hence: the dragon), man-o-man could she snore! So Emily and I very stealthy, quietly approached said beast, creeping, trying hard not to giggle (I was about 4, Emily about 6), got inches from her nose, and ‘ZZZZZ’ out came the dragons fire (a long, loud snore), we screamed, mom jumped out of the chair, and we ran away laughing hysterically, I don’t believe mom found nearly as much joy in this game as we did.
Ironically, her hatred of waking didn’t stop the Stake President from calling her to teach early morning seminary, she loves that calling.
Mom loves to:
Feel the wind.
Travel with my dad.
Sing. For years she served as the sacrament meeting chorister. She would stand up on the stand grinning from ear to ear, trying to catch as many peoples gaze as possible and make them smile back. She believes that singing to the Lord should be a joyous occasion and couldn’t stand to see people with the hymn book stuck in front of their faces, with a dour look on their face. She would even stop the music and reprimand the crowd for not gladly singing.
She loves her grandbabies. One of my sweetest memories was going to her house after E was born; she was lying on the couch, very sick and asked to hold him. She held him up by her shoulder and gave him kisses. I didn’t get a picture.
She loves her friends and has an amazing way of making everyone feel like they are her favorite. Everyone is important to mom. I admire this talent hugely.
Mom loves to read, particularly the scriptures. Every morning I could be sure that when I walked down the stairs she would have them out.
May dad worked nights for most of my growing up years. She would have us ‘little’ kids climb into her bed just before bedtime and read to us. I remember specifically: Tom Sawyer, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, and Manx Mouse.
She can sew anything, paint anything, and cross-stitch anything.
She loves: Chocolate, Watermelon, and Tacos. She also loves Imperial Margarine. The first time A ever went to my parents house while we were dating, he opened the freezer and there were 16 pounds of Imperial Margarine. As disgusting as it sounds she put it on everything. She also made us a treat (that now that I know better I gag just a little thinking about it) it was Cheerios cereal with melted butter and salt, kind of like popcorn.
She loves Christmas. She always decorated our house for every holiday, and I do mean every holiday.
My mom can talk to me like no one else can, she can be silly with me, but is amazing at talking sense to me when no one else’s ‘sense’ makes sense. I can still hear her say when I’m being particularly irrational ‘Now, Alicia…’
When she found something she’s just learned especially interesting she would make the ‘huh’ sound, but not say it, more of a sound, and nod her head, but this nod is more of a whole torso nod. I mock myself when I catch myself doing the exact same thing.
For most of my teenage and adult years when we asked mom what she wanted for her birthday or Christmas she always, without fail said, 'Righteous Children.' I always thought that was the biggest cop out. Now that I am a mother I know it wasn't. That is the thing she wants most. And I can say, at least for 1/6 of that equation that we're trying our hardest.
I’ve learned why so many people have a tendency to canonize people after they die even if they were the most rotten person they ever knew. My mom is a good person, but she wasn’t perfect, but I’m choosing to remember the good.
I know without a doubt that it was not a coincidence that E was born exactly three weeks early, his due date being the day after she died. I got to see her hold him 3 times. This truly is the most tender mercy the Lord has ever shown me.
More than anything I remember that my mom knows the Savior lives, she loves Him, and followed Him exactly as she was asked: I can echo the sentiments of Helaman’s 2,000: I do not doubt my mother knew it.
Here is my complaint:
I can not be happy about this trial. Sure, I have learned so much from it. I am a different mother than I would have been had she been here to walk me through it. I am closer to my husband, whom I rely on for my emotional support, than I was when she was on earth. I have learned to transmit my longing to see my mother into a longing to see the Savior after His return; my focus is no longer on her, but on Him. And I am grateful that I have such a wonderful angel with me (Elder Holland's talk in conference was specifically for me).
If you are lucky enough to know my mom, please post a comment about her, I want to know your memories too.
I have heard time and time again that the Lord never gives us trials that we can’t get through, so I know I can do this. I just wish I couldn’t.