Wednesday, June 16, 2010

3 Years

My mom died three years ago, today.

I don't have a very good memory. There are a lot of really important things that I cannot will to keep record of in my brain, no matter how hard I try.

But I will never forget what it felt like to hold my mom's hand when she breathed her last breath. The feel of her hand, the sound of her last exhale, the way my grandparents each lovingly drew in close to her the same way I did... that experience will be etched in my consciousness until I meet Mom again. I would not change a thing (not one "i-o-ta," as she would say... whatever an i-o-ta is?!!) about those last minutes. It was precious and sweet and I feel certain she felt me/us there.

It's incredible how - no matter how old a person is - we all regress into toddler behavior when something is going either incredibly right or incredibly wrong in life. Even though I am at peace and generally on a pretty healthy healing track regarding my loss of Mom, either extreme will stir up the following internal voices: "I want my Mom!" or "Aren't you proud of me, Mom?"

When I am stuck or confused or frustrated, I want to be held by Mom. If not an actual embrace, I want her to talk me down on the phone. I want the comfort of her voice to settle me. I want her to tell me what she told me from the time my horomones betrayed me in the world of puberty: "Just go to bed, babe. It'll all look different tomorrow." I want her to remind me that I don't have to think so hard, that I don't have to analyze so much, that I'm doing just fine.

When I have done something special or when I experience mastery over even the smallest of things or when I am watching my family evolve right in front of me (my biggest joy), I want my Mom to be watching with her own two earthly eyes. I want to hear her say, "I'm so proud of you, honey." And even when she says nothing, I want to be able to feel the pride in her expression. I want to watch her smile ear to ear when she observes me discipline her grandsons in the same no-nonsense way she did Justin and me. I want her to beam when I boast about my newest interest. I want to experience how pleased she'd be by our home, our traditions, our marriage, our family (even though none of it is perfect... Mom always did fine without perfection - thanks for permission to be imperfect, Mom!)

Today Sullivan, Jackson and I will be eating BLT sandwiches and Cheetos for lunch. This meal was among her absolute favorites (Mom could polish off a bag of Cheetos lickity split!). It's my little tradition for honoring the anniversary of her death. Sullivan has never eaten a Cheeto in his 15 months of life. I'm willing to bet this tasty little snack will be among his favorites too, just like GrandJan.

I love you, Mom. You are my biggest comfort and my biggest fan, even now. I hope the afterlife includes an unlimited supply of Cheetos! Wouldn't that be a kick?

2 comments:

Emily said...

Oh Tricia, beautifully put. Anyone who knows you even a little bit knows how incredible you are and I bet your Mom is proud of you every moment of every day.
Lots of love and kind thoughts to you.
Em

bb mcclain said...

One word Trish....Poignant.