My mom always told me that death is a part of life. I understood what she was saying, meaning I understood her words. You can’t live forever. People die. It’s a part of life. I understood that…but, I didn’t really get it.
The message I didn’t receive in those words without having had a direct personal experience is that sometimes it will be your favorite people who die. It could happen to one of your people without any warning. It can rip your world apart in an instant and you have no control over it. It doesn’t matter if you are young and healthy, nobody is safe from death and the agony of grief. Life is unpredictable and can be unfair. We don’t know for certain what tomorrow will bring. You could lose someone you love, and if you do, things will never be the same. Death is a part of life and not everyone dies at age 95 due to natural causes. I heard my mom’s words but I never heard her say, “Patty, it could be me that dies” and I never imagined that I would lose my mom now.
My mom passed away suddenly just over 6 weeks ago. She was 55 years young. I always thought that my mom would grow old and eventually move in with me and my husband so I could make her meals and keep her safe like she did for me when I was a little girl. I imagined how her black hair would one day turn all gray and her skin would wrinkle. She would be a cute old lady, frail but still strong. She would sit in her rocker and cheer for the Red Sox like my GG does for the Yanks. I imagined my mom at my kids’ future birthdays, graduations, weddings. I imagined so much that will never happen and it hurts like no hurt ever has.
Nothing could have prepared me for the unexpected death of my mom. Nothing could have eased my pain or prevented the grief that I am feeling. Life as I knew it is over. Losing my mom has changed the person I am. My new life leaves me feeling an emptiness inside that will never go away. I will forever be lonely for my mom’s company. Losing her leaves me feeling vulnerable to the harshness of the world and petrified that something terrible will happen to someone else that I love. I am so sad that she will not be here to watch her grandkids grow because I know it gave her such joy and I know how much they adored her. Yet, I am so grateful to have had 38 years filled with unconditional love and support from such an amazing woman. I could not have asked for a better mother. In my adult life, she became my dearest friend, my confident, my go-to person for any crisis, big or small. She was so much more than my mom and there is no replacing what she provided to me.
Moving on with my life without my mom is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I know I have to keep going for the sake of my kids, my husband, my dad, and so many others who are still alive and care about me. I have to smile and have fun. I have to go to work, and run, and blog and do the things that I have always liked to do even if I don’t feel like it right now. I have to enjoy life, the life my mom gave me. She wouldn’t want it any other way but that doesn’t make it any easier.
Death is a part of life. It’s the most awful part of life and its heartache is unfathomable until you lose someone so special.
I get it now Mom.
Please watch over us and keep us safe. We love you.
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