Today seems like it should be just like yesterday. It’s an average, uneventful day…for the most part. But for me, today is special. Or more accurately, tomorrow will be special. Maybe today is just scary.
You see, today I am exactly the same age my mother was when she died (on April 4th, 1984). While that may seem somewhat trivial to most people, especially if they’ve never lost a parent, it’s a huge deal to me. I had just turned 13 when my mom died from pancreatic cancer, the same cancer that took Patrick Swayze. It was 26 ½ years ago. But sometimes it hurts like it happened just yesterday.
Because I was so young, I have to really search my memories to remember much about her. Here’s what I do remember when I close my eyes (and yes I’m typing with my eyes closed): She loved to play footsies and cuddle. She liked to throw glass things for the shattering effect when she was angry. She wanted nothing more that to be a successful businesswoman. She had bluish eyes and light brown hair. She wasn’t physically active, so that showed me how to not be physically active (not that it’s any excuse, it’s just how it is). She was a very large woman for her 5’3” frame. She smoked, a lot, in the house. She loved to garden. She loved horses and dogs. Her middle name was Hazel. She was sometimes distant and unapproachable. She was mostly lonely I think.
Her father died when she was 6. She used to blame herself because a week before he passed, she jumped on his back while playing. Somehow her young mind associated that act with his death shortly after. I often wonder if she worried about her mortality as she approached the age he was when he died, just as I have worried about my own.
A couple years after her father’s death, her mother married an abusive alcoholic who beat my mom often. Her mother stayed out of it. So my mom had a tough life. She married an alcoholic and had two children; my brother, and then seven and a half years later, me. The marriage didn’t end well. When I was very young, she had a very successful dog grooming shop. She was smart. She was business savvy. She was a strong woman. And then she was gone.
I miss her so much. I feel it more today because I am the age she lived to. And maybe even because I am a mother. I can’t imagine leaving my children now. They need me, just like I needed my mom. I needed her when I was going through the awkward stages of puberty. I needed her when my heart was broken the first time. I needed her when I realized that life wasn’t what I had imagined it would be. And I need her so much more now that I have my babies.
She would have been a wonderful grandma. She would have been there for me when I was about to lose my mind from lack of sleep when Super Dude was a newborn. She would have answered the phone at 3 am when the Bug had a fever of 105.1. She would have been there for play dates and holidays and birthdays. She would have been there…
So I sit here, perhaps moping a bit too much, still mourning the loss of memories that would have been. Still missing her so much. Still crying inside “Mommy, why did you go?” Still seeing her face when I look in the mirror and hearing her voice when I speak. Still, after 26 ½ years.
But tomorrow, on day 14,444, when I wake up, I will be there for my babies. And I will be there for everything that my mom couldn’t. And I will still miss her.