Mother’s Day is bittersweet for me. I lost my mother to Breast Cancer in 2006. Though she fought breast cancer for two years her sudden death was the result of septic shock. She walked into the hospital on her own and was gone in three days.
Her death was hard for me because it was so sudden but also because I was in China at the time. I came home from an awesome time ready to share my trip with her because she would have gone too had she been feeling well enough. I even had souvenirs for her.
When my flight landed my family met me at the gate. I noticed that everyone looked horrible but I thought it was because it was late and they were tired. My world stopped when they told me that my mom had passed a couple of days before. Initially, I was numb. I didn’t really get it. Then my head started to hurt. I remember going into the bathroom and telling God that I would get him through the funeral. I wouldn’t leave him then. After the funeral, though, all bets were off.
I stayed with my grandparents that night. I think I only slept for an hour and a half, partially due to jet-lag and partially due to the fact that my world had just been turned upside down.
My family was sad but I was confused. Part of me kept wondering if there was a mistake or if this was some kind of horrible joke. We talked about funeral arrangements, which had already been started. The reality didn’t hit me until I was driving with my family from my house back to my grandparents’ house. My uncle was driving my mother’s car and that’s when I realized that she was gone. I can’t even describe the pain. It was so violent that I couldn’t even cry.
The next few days were surreal. There was a funeral. Lots of people came to the house. There were flowers and cards and Thank You cards to send out. Then there was emptiness.
The pain was so maddening that we had to get away. My aunts, my cousin, my best friend, and I took a trip to Orlando — in July. It was great to get away and have a change of scenery. Going to such a busy place was somewhat therapeutic. There were tons of things to do, even if we chose to just hang out in the pool. That time helped me get through.
The next few months were difficult. The next few years were difficult. I eventually went to graduate school. It was really cool that my mother and I had visited Tulsa when she was still alive so I had memories of her in Tulsa that I could relive as I drove around.
I had a new city and a very challenging master’s program but it was still hard. It’s still hard nearly seven years later. I cry as I write this. My life has never been the same since losing my mother. It never will be. The pain never goes away. It changes, but it does not go away. It’s not always raw and violent. It is not always on the surface, but it is always there. It surfaces when it wants to, sometimes very unexpectedly.
One thing that has helped me through the last seven years was the overwhelming sense of pride that I have for her. My mom was an extraordinary woman of God. She loved people. She organized a feeding program at our former church. She started a bible study for teenage mothers and helped them get prom dresses when they needed them. She was active in our church. Her coworkers loved her and cried as hard as we did at her funeral. During the whole time of funeral and visiting I was filled with pride. I was so very proud of my mother.
I miss her. Every day. I still see her in my dreams and it is the most comforting thing in the world (usually). On occasion she is sick in my dreams and that completely ruins my day. Usually, though, my mommy is alive and well in my dreams and it is wonderful.
My mother was fearless. She was brave and strong so I try to be those things too. I have a lot to live up to as her daughter. But I have such a privilege of being her daughter. And it’s that feeling of pride and honor that gets me through difficult days.
I love you Mommy!