It has been almost one year since my mom passed away. In some ways, it feels like it was only yesterday that my world changed forever while in other ways, it feels like the days have dragged on.
The pain of losing my mother has not gone away or diminished at all. I still get very vivid dreams about the night I lost her and the dreams bring back the feelings I had in the 48 hours following (in which I did not sleep at all). While I was hoping the pain would go away, it seems I will just have to learn to live with it.
But the loss of my mom also brought about a lot of positive things too – I received a crash course in adulthood, covering everything from responsibility, perseverance, determination, the power of loved ones, and having faith in even the darkest hours. My mom’s passing helped me get my priorities in order and learn to focus on what is truly important. I’ve grown as a person and I think I’ve become someone my mom would be really proud of.
I still get reminded of mom every day and for the most part, these reminders make me smile. For example, on Sunday mornings, I go to a bagel shop for breakfast and I can’t help but smile when I see the salt bagel because it was Mom’s favorite. Every month or so, Mom would get an insatiable craving for all things salty – and salt bagels were one of the ways she satisfied that craving. I can’t play a game of checkers without thinking about Mom because she loved to play checkers with my little cousin that lived in our building. I can’t go to a certain hair salon without thinking of her because that was where we used to often go.
There is also an intersection in town that I can’t help but laugh when I pass by. When I was about 15, Mom rented a car because we had a family party that was a bit of a distance away and our car wasn’t in good enough condition to drive the distance. The day after the family party, Mom agreed to take me out driving. It was early on a Sunday morning and the roads were pretty clear. I was incredibly nervous since this was my first time driving a car and Mom’s nerves only added to my own. While Mom and I were at a stoplight, I decided to turn my head and look out of my window to see how close to the yellow line I was. As I turned my head, I hit it really hard against the window. We both burst out laughing and of course, that is when the light turned green. As our laughter subsided, Mom made me pull over and told me I was not ready to drive yet.
When I watch the news, I notice myself wishing Mom was around. We would always discuss current events and debate political topics. She was fun to debate with because her passion was just as high as mine. Since she always had her nose in a book, she knew a lot about historical and political topics – which only made her an even better partner in a debate. Her passion for politics and history helped to shape my own passions. I don’t believe I will ever find as great of a debate partner as her.
Mom’s laughter was infectious and she was incredibly witty. Her mind seemed to always be moving at lightning speeds as if she was always two steps ahead of everyone else. She was quick and sharp with each response. She would often get the people around her to laugh until we had tears and we literally on the floor with rib pain from laughing so hard. She never seemed to miss an opportunity to laugh.
Her laughter is probably what I miss the most.
Mom was always the adventurous risk taker with a rebellious streak while I was always the cautious rule follower. I remember one such event of walking to the grocery store with Mom and we bought more groceries than we could carry. So we pushed the shopping cart home. Mom laughed at how exhilarated I felt for doing something that was wrong.
Losing a loved one changes a person. The aftermath of a loss undoubtedly shapes the future. Think of the great losses our ancestors must have faced – those stories serve as reminders that loss is a part of life. While we should never forget those who leave us, we have to learn to redefine our lives and push onward. When I come close to getting lost in my grief, I remember that if my ancestors never pushed onward, I would not be here today.
Rest in Peace Momma