Five years ago today, the most important person in my life finally succumbed to ALS, after an 11 year battle. Five years, my heart was ripped into a million pieces. Five years which at times seems like 5 minutes and other times it feels like a whole lifetime.
One thing I have learned is that no one is an expert on grief - everyone grieves differently. No one talks about how much you will regret EVERYTHING and how much guilt you will feel. I wasn't there enough, I didn't say enough, I didn't thank enough, did she really know how much I loved her. There is NEVER enough time with a loved one, period. I don't know if I will ever not regret or not feel guilty, but at least it dissipates over time and I can at least be more thankful for the time I did have then regret the time I didn't.
Another thing I have learned about grief is that I don't think there is ever closure of the "five stages". I will always be angry that my mom got sick, I will always be angry that there was no cure. I still would like to bargain with the powers that be - I would gladly trade someone to have my mom back. I will always be heartbroken that my mom is not with me. I will always miss her. As a rational, intelligent human being, of course I accept that she is gone, but there is no peace in that acceptance and maybe there will never be.
As an adult, with a job and a child, etc., I did not have the luxury of shutting down and checking out and letting myself grieve. Life went on, my job went on, my child needed to be taken care of. One day a year, that is when I let myself grieve. But as I did today, I met someone who made me think about my process. My daughter is almost 6 years old, my mom passed away a month before her 1st birthday so she has no memory of her. I rarely talk about my mom with my daughter because it is hard, because I get sad. I realized that I want my daughter to know about my mom, and it is ok if she sees me get sad. I have to start telling her about my mom, letting her know how much I hurt without her, and that these feeling are all ok.
My mom was a strong, independent, fierce woman (at least that is how I saw her). She spoke her mind and she was unapologetic for it. She pissed off her enemies and sometimes her friends! She was silly and kind, and she had a twisted sense of humor. She loved with everything she was and I could always see how much she hurt when any of her kids hurt. She was tough and strong and a bit stubborn. She was beautiful. The world is a darker place without her in it.
Everything I am today as a person and as a mother was inspired by her. Not only did she give me life, but she gave me more strength than I ever knew I had. I hope wherever she is, she is proud of what I have done and who I have become.
Mom - there will never be enough words to describe how I feel or how much I miss you.