On November 13th 2019, I lost my Mom.
She was the most beautiful, gentle, generous, creative, and important person in my life. She’d been ill only a short time, as far as we knew, though she’d struggled for years with various niggling physical issues, and the mental frustrations that accompanied them. But through it all she was incredibly strong, determined, selfless, and loving.
I have so much to say about her, and so much to question and ponder about loss. Why her, why so young, why less than a month after her birthday — the same day my (first and only) baby was born. Why didn’t I act on the awful premonitions I had that she was seriously unwell. Why, when I spoke to her the day before she went into the hospital and she’d said she was in pain, didn’t I buy a ticket to fly home to the US the next day (she insisted I needn’t worry, as she always did, and that she would go to the hospital and get it taken care of). Why can’t I accept that she’s truly never going to call me, FaceTime me, send me a letter with her flawless penmanship, hug me, tell me everything’s going to be okay, share her latest recipe, bake me a cake, wish me Merry Christmas, ever again. Why does my heart feel like it will never truly be happy again?
Right now all I know is how devastating this is.
I wrapped some Christmas gifts for my daughter the evening I wrote this post a few weeks back, and on the labels I wrote, “From Mom.”
There has only ever been one person in the world that word referred to. And she’s gone.
When I write that name — because to me it’s a name — it surely can’t refer to me, or anyone else. (And yes, I know I am a mother now and that it takes time to get used to that idea... this isn't about that. It's about my Mom).
Every time I write it, I’ll be picturing her, wishing I could write it on a card and send it to her, somewhere she could read it.
My sisters were in New York at the time and did an amazing job taking care of practicalities until my husband, 2-month-old daughter, and I could get over there from the UK. They gathered up lots of paperwork, and among piles on her kitchen counter found the last envelope I ever sent her. It had arrived in time, but she hadn’t felt well enough to open it.
In it were a stack of printed photos of our new baby and us. She'd already received a couple I'd sent earlier, but this was a collection of every photo we'd taken of our baby thus far because I wasn't sure Mom was checking her email at this point.
I will never stop talking about her, and I will never stop missing her.