It is a strange thing to think about for me. The thought that in just three short days it will have been fifteen years since my mother went to be with Jesus. How can it be fifteen years when the hurt still feels so fresh every time July rolls around? The replay of the last few weeks, days, and hours play as though they are playing in slow motion. I could describe the evening of her passing to you with as much clarity today as I could the day after and yet the days after...nay the two years after are a blur. Almost as though a part of me shut down not to be reawakened until I was ready. The view out the window of the lightening show, the feeling of the room, the feel of her hand in mine, the moment Jesus stood at the foot of her bed, every expression of her face, and yet I cannot quite remember how many days it had been since I had heard her voice. The days when she didn't even know who I was and the days she was so mad at me because she didn't even know who she was and missed out on an entire day those I remember with extreme clarity....but then she was always mad at me for something. I miss that actually. If she was mad at me it meant she was around. Perhaps that is why I don't remember when she went silent, lost in her own mind and unable to communicate with me.
To think of all the things she has missed seems strange. Girls driving, girls graduating, getting jobs, the boy getting hair...driving, getting a job. The boy doesn't have a single memory of her. The younger of the two girls barely remembers her. This hurts my heart. It seems absurd really the rotation of the universe, days turning to weeks turning to months turning to so many years. The idea that in just four days I will be only five years younger than she was when she died. How distant that age seemed so many years ago and now I'm in the front yard of it slowly and quickly walking towards the door. I have so many mixed emotions that I don't know how to process.
I don't know how to put away the pain or make it stop showing up every year. The hurt...the guilt of not being able to perform miracles that I'm not qualified to even perform arrive on schedule every year. I hold it close to me and try to push it down, then I get up and put one foot in front of the other and decide that though she is not here I am still here and there must be some reason for it. Some unknown, unfathomable reason why God wants me here though I do not know why. I offer no great contribution to the world at large. I cannot stop the oncoming train of despair from barreling towards me even fifteen years later. I don't even know how to help others deal with their pain.
All I know is that every morning, July or January, it doesn't really matter the date on the calendar I wake up with a choice. I can choose to wallow or I can choose to make an attempt at thriving. I can choose to be happy or sad. I can choose a good day or a bad day. I cannot choose the events around me. I cannot choose the decisions of others. I cannot choose anything other than my reactions and how I choose to live in spite of the things I cannot control. So it is July and the oncoming train is barreling at me at 180 miles per hour and my heart hurts though it was yesterday, but I am putting one foot in front of the other and I'm going to work instead of laying in my bed. I choose to show up and be present because I know I wasn't before. I know there where two years that I missed. I have had to learn to hold my thoughts captive. To sort out what is true and what is not and dismiss the ones that are not. I'm a slow learner in this. I still struggle. I can't do things on my own. I can't function any other way. I pray in the shower, in my car, I fall asleep with one thought "you know" because he does know. God knows what I can't put into words because I'm fighting the quicksand of my emotions. I'm exhausted, my energy depleted from just breathing in and out and fighting the attack of my mind that I know will come every year.
Last night I was trying to remember her at my age. How old were the girls then? What were we all doing? I would call her when I was making dinner. She worked all the time. She slept with the television on QVC. She would find a shirt or shoes she liked and buy it in every color. She drank hot coffee year round black with nothing in it to actually make it taste consumable. When I meet her again in heaven I want to introduce her to a caramel macchiato because I feel like she missed out on that. The places and experiences I've missed out on taking her to, the life and love she shared, I miss it all. It crushes my soul...and yet I have the hope that I will one day see her again. Until then mom know that I love you always and think of you daily. I look forward to the day I hear your voice again.