This year I joined a sisterhood that no girl wants to be a part of.
I am now a motherless daughter.
Mom got sick the day after my parents arrived in Florida and she has spent the last 5 months in a nursing home before passing away the day before my birthday. I knew she would never get better but I had hoped she had more time.
I see other women with their mothers having lunch or shopping and a wave of envy washes over me. My girlfriend told me she had plans to visit her mother for the day and a bitter jealousy stabbed at me. I should be happy for my friend that she still has her Mom to enjoy but it’s hard for me right now to share that joy.
I am only 42 years old. I anticipate that I will have many years ahead of me without my mother.
I awoke last Saturday and my first thought was” I haven’t talked to Mom in awhile. I should give her a call today” and then the fog of sleepiness lifted and I remembered she was gone. A pang of emptiness swept over me as I realized I would never be able to have our Saturday morning chats over coffee.
Sympathy cards came to the house for days after Mom passed and I wondered if I should respond to all the kind people who took the time to write. This was just one kind of question I would seek advice on from my mother and I wonder who I can ask from now on.
I struggle to hold on to the memory of the sound of her voice and the way she smelled. I can hear the way she would call me “dear” but I fear the sound of her voice fading. I have her answering machine and I play the greeting every now and then just to hear her voice again. I spray her perfume bottle of Chanel Number 5 on me to keep her close but I am afraid to do this too often because soon it will run out.
This was the first year I didn’t spend Christmas at “home” with my parents in my whole life. My husband and I had no where to go for Christmas Eve so we spent it home alone. It was like any other night. Some day we’ll have to find a new tradition but this year I spent it feeling very sorry for myself. I wanted our old Christmas’s back even though they weren’t always perfect either.
My mom and I didn’t always see eye to eye, in fact we were very different people with many different values, but she was my foundation and the only older female I had to offer me wisdom and to share life experiences. I feel like a canoe on a river now without an oar, drifting aimlessly and hoping I will wind up in the right place.
I ask my friends who have lost loved ones if they “feel” their loved one’s presence with them. The question never even crossed my mind before I lost my Mom but now it’s a question I ask everyone I know who has lost someone close. The answers vary, of course, and I know we all experience things in our own way and time but I desperately need to know that it is possible to feel people that we have lost.
I thought I didn’t feel my mother with me and it troubled me. I would sit alone, close my eyes and try and feel her around me. I would speak out loud to her and wait for an answer to come to me. I felt like I was speaking to thin air. But then someone asked me something about my Mom and I replied without thinking” It doesn’t feel like she’s even gone. I still feel like she is here.”
So it dawned on me that maybe I do feel her with me and she will never truly feel gone.