It takes a little while to realize life is never going to be the same when someone you love leaves you. There suddenly becomes a distinct difference in life with and without a person.
There was life with my mom: Imperfect, as many real and true things are but still so good and worth celebrating. Life sounded like laughter, Friday night pizza in the kitchen, the Remember the Titans soundtrack, and early morning runs. We sang with Jeremiah, the Bullfrog. We played card games with a three-dollar buy-in and one last round “on your honor.” Rough mornings began with pleading for the harsh noise of an alarm clock instead of mom yelling Cock-a-Doodle-DOOO. After disagreements, we rolled our eyes, reciting “You’re the only sibling the other has.” Growing up was with the Power Rangers and Faith Hill. We wore black cowboy boots, played in the creek and knocked on the door to ask our neighbors to play.
And now there is life without my mom: Most nights end with three-way calls between me, my dad and brother. Support is needed and graciously given by friends, counselors, Grief Groups and family. I use phrases like My mom used to or My mom loved when or My mom was. Life is slowly rebuilding after total destruction. The melody is slower and the light is dimmer. There are many bright spots and still, lots of tears. Days are approached with a little less tenacity and require more strength than we thought we had. “One day at a time” is my favorite and most detested phrase. Beauty is revealed on Christmas Eve when friends slip cinnamon rolls in the fridge for a first Christmas morning without mom. Life is cemetery visits. But life is also honest, deep relationships
I have found one constant to span pre-August 18 and post-August. And as sappy and Hallmark-esque as it is, it is oh-so true.
I’m realizing that even though my mom was, our love still is.
My mom is always and forever my mom. The love I still feel is only proof that she was real and that our relationship was grounded in true, deep love and care. The fact that I feel loss means that I love even still. Love does not suddenly become passé once the receiver is gone. Love bridges the before and the after. Love continutes to hold us together. Love is real. Love is strong. Love is motivating. Love is now.
And even more, the love my mom had for so many of us left behind is revealed in our relationships with each other. She united so many people. It’s amazing to witness so many of her friends from wildly different circles huddle up and bear the collective weight of loss together. All that because we still know her love.
Love does not end with death. Love doesn’t become loved. If anything, love is more obvious and all the more palpable through tears, longing and memory. Sometimes love hurts but it’s sure still love.
This love isn’t going anywhere, that’s for sure.
Happy Valentine’s Day. Love you, Momma.
Whistling: This Song = New Anthem