May 9, 2018

3,560 Days

3,560 days. Nine years, eight months, and twenty-eight days. That’s how long I had with my mother.

I once had a dream that I vividly remember, but I do recall being at a gray, towering building to pick up my mom. She was alive and she was healthy. She seemed different than the last time I had seen her, but that was okay because we were reunited and she was okay. See, sometimes the nightmare of life is when you wake up. When you come back to reality, you’re stripped of all your hopes and fantasies. My greatest nightmare is living without my mom. She was my friend, my nurturer, my teacher, and my source of comfort. And now she’s gone. When I’m in pain because of this loss, I constantly remember that I simply can’t let her go. What I mean by “let her go” is not to forget her entirely, but to not continually dwell in the past and hope for things that simply will not happen. Of course, I will see her again and spend eternity with her, but as for now I can’t just ask her for advice or have her hug me when I need it the most, and I’ve really struggled in dealing with that since she’s been gone.

I’m not sure exactly yet how to let her go, but I think the first step is to recognize my need to do so. Saying that and actually doing it are two entirely different things. This loss is one that will haunt me for the rest of my life, there’s no getting around it or forgetting her. I’m always going to be dealing with the fact that she died and making it through life, knowing she’s not there with me. If I get married, I’m going to cry down the aisle because I wish she could be there. If I have a child, I’m going to cry because I wish she could be a grandmother to my child(ren) and that she could give me more of the wisdom she gave over the years. This isn’t something that will simply go away just because I can’t bear the pain anymore, yet I can’t hold onto something that’s already lost.

I think one thing that may help myself and others dealing with loss is to not focus on the hurt that followed the loss, but rather the joy we had when they were here. We can use the good of the past as an example of how to work for the good of the future, the future of ourselves and others. Three thousand, five hundred and sixty days. Nine years, eight months, and twenty-eight days. That’s how long I had with my mother. Those were my good days. It feels like every day since then has descended into a pit of darkness. When I think of those days, she’s there. There’s closeness, love, and pure joy. I think of her smile, her bright eyes, and her compassion for others. I think of how good all of those things were, but then I come back to reality and the present day and I cannot begin to explain the contrast. Pretty soon I will have lived longer without my mother than I did with. I always wish I had more time that I often forget I had enough time. I had enough time to know her and her love. I had enough time to know the lasting impact she’d have on my life, even in her absence. I had enough time with her to learn the lessons I needed to at that time. I had enough time with her to know she loved her family more than anything. She gave her all to us. All of her love, all of her time, and all of her talent. She used all three in glorifying God, and of course He came first for her, but she used those qualities in raising up her family to glorify God. She was selfless. I was young when she passed, but she had such a huge impact on my life that it was worth remembering. The joy I receive from reminiscing on these things can be a driving force and an inspiration for the kind of person I wish to be. This is finding the good while in the midst of pain. I’m continually struggling with living this out, and I know she wasn’t perfect, but it’s okay because I’m far from perfect too. I want to remember the past, I want to remember her as an example for someone I can strive to be, even if she’s not here to see it herself.