"The only person I really wanted to talk to about Augustus Waters' death was Augustus Waters."
- John Green
I read The Fault in Our Stars not long after my mom passed away. If you know the story, whether from the novel or film, it's centered on characters living with and dealing with loss from cancer. (Spoiler alert: I just spoiled the ending. Sorry.)
You might ask why I put myself through those emotions so soon again but honestly, I couldn't tell you. It's not like the rawness of losing my mom had ceased. However, what I discovered was that this book somehow broke through all the jumbled thoughts and emotions that were in my head and put them in words I hadn't been able to express.
I've always been good with words when it comes to writing. Speaking on a whim or from the heart has never been my strong point. With writing you can express your thoughts but also go back to edit them to where they're cohesive and make sense and the words convey what you really want to say. I almost never know what to say in person.
So when I read this book, I suddenly had an explanation for a lot of my own personal feelings regarding my mom's death.
Now, go back to the top of this post and reread that quote.
There were a couple of other quotes but this one was the most self-revealing. My mom was gone. I couldn't call her, I couldn't text her. My family and friends were there but the only person that I immediately thought to talk to about my mom dying was...my mom. That desire to text or the brief excitement hearing about something she would love to know about; it's still there.
Today, at just before 2:30pm, I will remember watching her go. I know other people were in the room but I had this tunnel vision that only focused in on her. I remember holding her hand and not wanting to let go.
I can't believe a year has gone by. Every time I see a picture of my mom, it feels like another lifetime. Of the few things we've brought home that were hers, eventually her scent has faded or the idea of holding onto some things seems less important. The void left by her leaving can be ominous and heartbreaking one day and unrealized the next.
I don't have any regrets but I do have my wishes:
- I wish we had taken that last mother/daughter cruise. I thought my children wouldn't survive a few days without me so we delayed. Now, I encourage all my friends who are moms or daughters to take that cruise! Do something! I would give anything to be in that place, that moment with her again.
- I wish I had spent less time stressing and venting when she came to visit. We talked about everything under the sun but as a SAHM with little adult interaction, I have a habit of getting all my gripes out to the people I most trust. She was my listener and confidante and always allowed me to get things off my chest.
- I wish she could have met Charlotte. The latter half of this year has been a whirlwind of up and down emotions. From the excitement of us welcoming Baby #3 and finding out that it's a girl, to the realization that my mom didn't get to share with me the joy of finally having a girl. Yes, I know you that you can say that she was rejoicing from Heaven, but it is not the same. Charlotte is the only grandchild who will not have a photo with her Grandma. I grieve for my daughter to have missed out on knowing my mom and for me to be able to share with her the experience of having a daughter. There will be years of traditions ahead of us that I had always hoped to share if I ever had a daughter, all traditions carried on by my mom that now only two generations will continue instead of three.
There are good days and bad days still, but now mostly good days. And I don't want to write about how my mom is "in a better place" or how we know that she is in Heaven, which she is. I just want to be real and the reality is that I miss my mom. I didn't know how we would survive this first year with all the holidays and birthdays and whatnot, but we did. And we will the next year and the next.
I love you, Mom. I miss you more than I can ever express. Thank you for raising me to be the woman I am today. I hope I make you proud.