On June 2nd, 2023, my mother passed away. I have a very difficult time saying that sentence out loud. But because my blog is a place where I document my life, I felt it important to share some thoughts I have for her. I don't want to talk about the specific details of what occurred, I just want to share final thoughts as a little ode to her. It'll be brief, but she knows how I feel. We've talked.
I've felt a new kind of bond with my mother within the last six months than I've felt in the past. Yeah, we've had our faults, disagreements, time apart. But there's been something remarkably special about being able to speak with her, as an adult child of hers, and for us to build a whole new relationship together.
I can honestly say my mom became one of my best friends, within these final months. Like I said, things were always complicated growing up. Trauma gets passed down from generation to generation, shown in different ways, dealt with in different ways. But when it was just she and I, sitting and talking, having dinner, watching Entertainment Tonight—we were just being ourselves. In a quiet space, anything in the world to discuss. Sometimes we'd spend time speaking deeply about tougher topics, like mental health, body image, even the complicated dynamics from our past. I'm so fortunate that she's always been very mindful about how real mental health struggles are. But sometimes we'd also speak about each others' current, growing interests, like new sitcoms she was enjoying and all the things we were learning about sports. Were we starting to enjoy golf? Or were we just loving their outfits? The world may never know. No matter what was discussed, we ensured that, for every visit, we'd check in on each other emotionally, and we would always remind each other that we appreciated each other. And in general she just always wanted to hear more about my own interests. She wanted to know how many miles I was starting to run, how much I was learning about health and wellness, what I was achieving at work, what I was writing about on my blog. She even asked me to read one of my blog posts to her, but we got cut short on time with visiting hours at the hospital, so I didn't read it. I fucking wish I read it. She wanted to support all of my passions. For her, I want to keep writing. For her, I want to keep running. For her, I want to be the strongest person I can be.
Everybody has flaws, myself and my mother included. But in this time, she has taken action to help rebuild our bond. She has proven to be an incredibly and undeniably introspective, gracious, and courageous person, It takes patience, time, deep love to mend the kind of relationship we had, and my mother has shown all of that, and more.
My mother also taught me what being strong really means. Despite her pain, her eyes would brighten and her smile would widen when I'd arrive for quality time. Despite her pain, she'd let me hold her hand, and she'd say to me, "Hey Lyds! What's new with you?" (she always wanted to hear the latest and greatest). Despite her pain, she would always laugh at my corny little jokes, even if they didn't quite land. I always wanted to bring my best energy when I would visit my mom, because she was bringing hers for me--not that she even needed to. But she always did.
I appreciated getting to know her in a newer light, where, while the circumstances broke my heart, she showed genuine love, patience, and strength. Those qualities are the parts of my mother that I will cherish forever. Those are the parts of her that I want to carry forward.
No adays, I look for her in everything. There's a mysterious star or a planet that's been shining extra bright in my window at night ever since she passed, and whenever I'm anxious or am missing her, I look up to that twinkle in the sky. Or if a bird lands nearby, and seems brave enough to stick around for a while, maybe that's her. Or whenever we get a heavy rain, perhaps that's my mother nourishing the plants around me. I love the rain. I hope it's her.
I think about her in little reminders, also. Momma acknowledged things in the hospital that people don’t typically think about, like how often her nose would tickle or how itchy her skin felt when her tears were left unwiped. These days, I sit with those discomforts. I take in how ticklish my nose can feel, and let it pass on its own sometimes. I let my tears gather in my lashes and on my skin and wait for the itch. All in an attempt to experience some sort of solidarity with her.
During one of my final visits with her, she said to my sisters and me, "You three together could rule the world." We'll do our best to make you proud, momma, and I'll carry you with me forever. I love you with everything in me.