Yesterday marked the last first in my year of firsts since my mom passed away July 18th, 20012. The first anniversary of her death.
It has been a difficult year enduring her first birthday, our first Christmas without Nannie, a first Mother's Day that I couldn't remind her how much I loved her and then yesterday, the first anniversary of her death.
Memories flooded in and out of my mind all day, her last day in the hospital before she died. The pain she endured, the pain we all endured watching her suffer. Watching as she slowly slipped into a coma which blessedly gave her peace to transition to her next journey. How privileged we were as we stood touching her, letting her feel our love and then sending her home surrounded with that love. She left this life knowing how loved she was.
Mother's Day this year ~ how can I explain my first Mother's Day without my mother? It is next to impossible. This woman who give me life, who nurtured me, who loved me, who hated me sometimes I'm sure, was my biggest cheerleader, wiped my brow when I was sick, sat up at night massaging my calves when I was crying with leg cramps, washed, folded and put away my laundry every week until the day I moved out, looked after me and my new babies, lived a moral life and gave me a woman I am proud to be told I resemble in looks and mannerisms. She also gave me a bodacious butt which I am not quite as thankful for...
I remember waking up Mother's Day, wanting to pick up the phone to give her a call which I always did first thing on Mother's day. This year there was no card, no gift wrapped to bring out to her which I knew would bring a smile to her face. There was only emptiness especially in my heart. There would be no visit for a coffee or a special lunch. There would be no Mother's day brunch at the Court. I recall one year surprising her with all of my husbands brothers, their wives and children and his mom and dad who my mom really enjoyed spending time with. She was genuinely surprised and I was gratified that I could give her that.
Mom was very organized and had her Christmas shopping long done before she passed away. A few days before her death, she told me to make sure I wrapped the presents for everyone at Christmas. They were only small tokens but a very large reminder once given and opened of the huge loss we all were all sharing. Christmas felt wrong this year without her.
Don and I always kept her with us for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. On her first Christmas after dad died we woke up, made coffee and sat down to open our stockings. I gave her one and tears sprang to eyes. I asked her why she was crying and she told me that was the first stocking she had ever had in her life. I learned so much about my mom that I had never known in those last few years. In her stocking one year, I put a miniature Royal Doulten figurine she had admired in a jewelry store. She was so surprised I had remembered how much she had liked it and couldn't believe that I went back to the store and got it for her. Now that little lady sits in my curio cabinet and I remember that precious moment every time I look at her.
When I go out these days I notice mothers and daughters and how fortunate those daughters are to have a mom. Even if she drives that daughter crazy, she won't be there forever. I wish I had remembered that fact when I got annoyed with my mom, her forgetfulness and the amount of work it was to be her primary caregiver.
Now that my year of firsts is over, I can move on to learning how to be motherless, learn how to be the respected head of my family as I realize that I am the matriarch of my family. I see how life and time continue to march forward, relentless like ocean waves that constantly wash ashore reminding me that I am moving closer to the time when I too will make my journey home.