Dec 12, 2012
I never realized how much I'd miss my mom now that she's gone. "Missing her" actually doesn't even touch the depth of the loss I feel, though. I just can't think of a better word to use at the moment.
It'll be nine months since her passing just after Christmas; I can't believe it's been that long. It feels longer, but also feels like it all just happened a day or two ago. But during these past months, I've realized something about myself--about my relationship with her as my mother--that gives me so many mixed feelings.
I feel like most of the people who interact with me in my daily life...just don't get it. They don't get how close my relationship was with her, the bond I had with her. And if I think back further, when she was alive and a mostly daily part of my adult life, I remember some people, some close friends and even some of my own family members, saying I was "too dependent on her," or told her that she "should let me go to be more independent"...stuff like that. But...it wasn't really like that. We were just that close, that connected, that bonded. It's like it's so easy for a lot of people to forget, or just not know or understand, that for so long, we were all each other really had. It was her and me from the time I was two to nine years old. I had no one else seem to care enough to want me...not daily. No one else who seemed to understand me, how ultra sensitive and introverted and insecure I felt as a child. No one who truly knew my hobbies, interests, desires, goals, dreams...no one who cared enough to take the time to appreciate, love, encourage, develop the best of, and understand all that about me to the depths that my mom did. In fact, until my first son was born, and then my husband came into my life, I felt like the ONLY person in the whole world who really made me feel like I was someone loved, appreciated, respected, cherished and treasured, and understood ME and who I was and unconditionally loved everything about me...was my mom.
In return, I was all but the same to her. Mom was...a complicated person. She was very strong-willed, independent, self-reliant and self-sufficient, very driven and intense, and extremely artistic and intelligent. She was also a very attractive woman. She literally could accomplish anything, do anything, any time she wanted it seemed. She invested everything she had as wisely as she could. She left quite the legacy of memories and tangible matters behind. But she always had a difficult time with relationships--pretty much every relationship in her life, from family to friendships to romantic interests. I was pretty much the only person in her life with whom she wasn't guarded; she shared everything with me like the closest of best friends, given my age and maturity levels. By the time I was about 17 or so, we were so much more than mother and daughter, although for all my memorable years, we'd always been close enough to have such a strong emotional connection with each other that we could practically "read" each other like a book at any given time.
That said, I know a lot about her past, a lot of suspicions and outright knowledge of why she was the way she was...because she loved and trusted me, and basically only me, to tell me. It's odd how much that means to me now, with an entirely different perspective of knowing all of it beyond just her entrusting me as her closest and most loved friend--it's because she wanted so differently for me, my life, my relationships--she wanted me to be "better off" than she had been in maintaining and cultivating relationships with family, mainly. I consider her having succeeded above and beyond all expectations that I think she even had. She knew her mistakes, she knew her struggles, and she faced them the best she could. I think during the last year of her life especially, she overcame a lot; so much more than even she expected, especially with her faith and her extended family. I know I'll always be proud of her.
But now that she's gone, it's like I don't know how to process that some days. Well, most days. Every single day, throughout every hour, she crosses my mind. Memories, or the longing of wanting to make more memories that I can't now because she's gone--sometimes it is overwhelming and literally takes the air from my next breath, my heart stumbles on its own beat, and my eyes fight back the sting of tears. I just want nothing more than to talk to her again, hear her voice, feel her embrace, see her beaming smile and listen to her laugh--act goofy with her again.
I had this dream about her a few months ago that I will hold dear in my memories for the rest of my lifetime, because in that dream, she gave me something. It symbolizes everything about our relationship, and how, despite being two separate lives apart in the worlds of the known to us and Heaven, we are still connected--still have a "link" to each other in a way. The item was encased in a large, shiny black rock that crumbled in my hands. Inside it, I found a golden ivy leaf, and attached to its stem was a thin gold chain, linked with multiple small diamond gemstones every few inches. The gold and diamond chain was really long and I had to loop it over my hand a few times as I pulled it out of the rock's rubble. At the end of it was attached a carved aquamarine gemstone dolphin pendant. Out of curiosity, I looked up the meanings and symbolism of gold, ivy, diamonds, aquamarine, and dolphins the next day when I woke up. I was astonished, is all I can say. I truly feel that was a way of my mom reaching out to me, communicating to me in that dream, that she still reads me, my needs, my ache of missing her, like and open book. That dream really engraved into my heart the belief that...in a way...she's still just as much a part of my physical and emotional bond that in a sense, it's like she's still here for me, especially when I need her.
Sometimes though, it's hard to not let the pain diminish that faith.
Last night, I remember waking up from a lovely dream of just being with her, goofing around like we would, making each other laugh. I woke up because a certain little someone in my belly made a karate kick or the like on my bladder, so...I got up to go to the bathroom, smiling to myself at how much fun I'd been having with my mom in that dream.
But before falling back asleep, grief crept in and overcame me again. Those bad memories of the days leading to her death. The smells and sounds of the hospital, the feel of her near-lifeless hand in mine, the feel of me having to hold her, frailer than me at this point, wiping away her tears, caused not so much at knowing of her own death coming within days, but because she couldn't stand the thought of the pain I'd face, that my younger sister would face, and the dreams she'd wanted to achieve that weren't much to ask, really, knowing she only had limited time left, but never anticipated it would be far less time than that.
I tried...tried REALLY hard...to refocus on the goodness of the dream I'd just had, but couldn't help but whisper aloud, "Mom? How come you don't hug me anymore? I see you when I sleep but...I don't remember the last time you hugged me."
Eventually I fell asleep again, which led to a dream touched mildly by my PTSD symptoms that still bother me from time to time. I was waiting at my dad's house like a little kid for her to come and pick me up and take me home. She arrived and came in the door, but instead of looking like what I'm used to seeing her as in my dreams--young and glowing--she appeared much like she did in the weeks before she died. Frail, tired. But she still had that bright "light" in her eyes, I noticed that. She came through that door and started looking for something and didn't seem to see me. I was so shocked she was there because, in that dream, I was aware of the reality that she'd died, but...yet here she was, in front of me. She was wearing a white sleeveless blouse top, and when I saw her, I thought it can't be! but...it is! She's HERE. I urgently got up, breathlessly cried out her name, reached out for her; she had her back to me a bit because she wasn't aware that I was there. I grabbed her arm, but her skin...it felt like it did those last days. Skin doesn't feel right on a person who is hours from dying. I let go immediately, scared...scared to "lose" her again, scared to face it all again. But she turned around to look at me and all that was gone. She was life-like again, radiant and full of stamina. She looked at me like she hadn't seen me in years and had been looking for me like I'd been looking for her.
The last thing I remember about that dream is lunging into her arms, feeling her arms wrap around me, and we both cried, cried so hard...from happiness.
She came back for me in that dream--just to give me the hug I'd asked for and needed so badly.
She amazes me.