I can’t believe it has been a year since my mom left this earth. It feels like it was yesterday, yet it feels like it’s been forever.
~I’m aware this is a really long post, but I needed to get this off my chest-thanks for listening~
I remember driving home from work one year ago today and talking to my mom and laughing about random things. I know exactly where I was the last time she told me that loved me and I got to tell her I loved her too. 8 hours later…she was gone. It’s going to be hard to drive that road tonight to get home. I’m going to take some tissues and a bucket with me, because I’ve been feeling all kinds of emotion and nausea today. I know that she is right here with me and trying to wrap me in peace and love, and I am reminded me of all the things that I hold in my heart that I feel are signs from mom. Little blurps over the past year to let me know that she isn’t that far away.
Once shortly after I got my phone, there was a red SOS symbol in the upper corner where the signal bars normally are. I had to turn off my phone, take out the battery and sim card and put it all back together again. This happened a handful of times in the first year I got the phone. I had a dozen of those error msgs pop up over the first few days after Mom passed. Sometimes I would just be sad and pick up the phone to call Grandma and the symbol would be there then it would go away. Sometimes when I was talking to Grandma it would cut out and I’d see the SOS msg that disconnected our call. Never once did I have to take my battery or card out like I had before. I didn’t think anything about it at the time, was just frustrated. But maybe it was something else.
I love ladybugs, and have for years. My mom knew this and tended to always get me something with ladybugs on it. Sometimes it would be dishtowels or a candle or a pencil with a ladybug antennae on the cap. She would stick ladybug stickers on cards she would send or give me a stuffed ladybug toy for Emma. It got to the point that when she asked me what I wanted for my birthday or Christmas, I had to tell anything without ladybugs on it. She would laugh and say “OK, I know you’ve got enough ladybugs.”
At the cemetery, after we said our good byes and walked back to the car to head back to the church, I leaned on my husbands shoulder and sobbed. I was holding the glove my husband had given me that he wore to help carry the casket. I noticed a ladybug was crawling on my hand. I kinda of smiled and looked over at my husband and started to cry some more. I rolled down the window and let her fly away. Later on my cousin had asked if I saw the ladybugs. Oh did he tell you there was one in the car? She said no during the graveside service, she and her mom noticed there were tons of ladybugs flying around, then afterward they were instantly gone. That made me sob so hard, my mom had given me sent me some ladybugs that day and I didn’t even get to see them. Now everytime I see a ladybug, I smile because I know she is trying to life my spirits.
I had my first dream of Mom on Christmas Eve, 2 months after she passed. I was in my house hanging out with some family and friends, almost like it was a cookout type of thing. I walked downstairs and my Mom was sitting on the couch. I stopped halfway down in total shock of what I was seeing. I walked down and sit on the couch beside her, in total amazement of what I was seeing, kinda like it was a dream inside a dream. I was like “what’s going on”. She was just smiling and saying hi and how cute I looked. My mouth was hanging open and I was like”ahhh…what are you doing here, this can’t be real…how did you get here?” I looked up at one of my friends and asked them if they saw what I saw. They said yes that she was real and was sitting on the couch.
I then went and stood in front of her and was asking what had happened. She told me that she was here, I just looked at her in amazement that we were having a conversation. I started to cry and told her I thought she was gone. She said no, she had just gone on a trip, she was sorry that I had thought that. I continued telling her what exactly happened and how I saw her at the hospital and funeral home and she was there laying in front of me with no life left in her. I showed her the obituary and how real it was. I was crying so hard and she began to cry and told me she was sorry for leaving, she didn’t realize how confusing her trip was going to be and that it was ok now, because she was back and everything was ok. She just had to go away for a little bit but she was back now.
Then she gave me a hug and told me everything would be ok and she never meant to hurt me like that. She was sorry that I had to go thru all of that for no reason. She just went on a little vacation, she wasn’t gone…just away for a little bit. I could feel her arms around me as I laid my head on her shoulder. I took a deep breathe that I had been holding in for the last 2 months. She told me she loved me and was sorry that I had to go thru when it wasn’t real.
I must have woken up at that point in the dream, because that’s the last thing I remember is her hugging me. I woke up feeling a pressure around me, like a heavy blanket was laid across my chest as I slept. I cried in my Cheerios that morning because I knew that I will only feel her arms around me in my dreams until that day we meet again. But I know that she came to me in that dream on that night to let me know she didn’t want to leave and that she was still there with me and would still be able to hug me when I needed it…even if I could only feel it with my heart.
So Christmas Day came. Wasn’t really looking forward to it much like I normally was, I knew it was going to be hard not seeing Mom there. After dinner, we gathered in the living room to exchange gifts. My grandma handed me a box and told me these were for me. It wasn’t uncommon for her to give me a few little extra things for Christmas, so I just thought that it was something from her.
I went over and sit on a spot by the tree, there were over 30 people in the room, so you cop-a-squat where you can. Started looking around while everyone opened their presents and saw my cousin getting teary and looking at me. I knew it was hard for everyone not just me. I looked down at the box and realized that they were not presents from my Grandma. They were gifts that my mom had already bought and wrapped before she passed away. I immediately started crying when I saw her handwriting. She had beautiful penmanship. Something that I definitely didn’t get from her. There were several things in the box. There was a Rachel Ray cookbook, she knew I was messing with new recipes and trying new foods. There were several packages that were wrapped and labeled.
The first thing that I opened was something that she had gotten me but it didn’t come in until after she had passed, so my Grandma wrapped it for me. A few weeks before she passed away I had gotten an AVON book in our mailbox. I flipped thru it and saw a Smurfette watch. It made me smile and instantly reminded me of being young watching the SMURFS on Saturday mornings. So that night when I talked to her, I told her if she ever ordered me anything from AVON again, this watch would be perfect. See my mom was always getting me little rings or jewelry or lipstick from AVON, so I knew that she would probably be getting the same book if she didn’t have it already. Apparently she had ordered it for me but was never able to see me wear it.
The next thing in the box was a package that said it was from Toby & Moses. Toby is my grandma’s dog and Moses was my mom’s cat. It wasn’t unusual for me to get gifts from the pets…they were part of the family too! They were 2 giant Sudoku puzzle books. She had mentioned these to me months before and asked if I knew how to do those crazy number puzzles. I said I loved them and she said she had some books someplace and if she ever found them she would give them to me. I have been doing them ever since, being sure to do each one completely before moving onto the next. I want them to last as long as they can.
The final package was a long box. On the label it said:
My heart broke. I had gotten dozens of gifts before with little heartfelt messages on them, but this by far touched me the most of anything I had ever gotten. I just held it in my hands and started crying even more. Who knows how long she had that package wrapped in her room. I couldn’t bring myself to open it, I didn’t want to damage the package because of what it symbolized. I waited until I got home later that night and carefully opened the package, being sure not to tear the label, in front of our Christmas tree. Thru the tears I opened up a beautiful bracelet that she had gotten me. While it was a very pretty bracelet, my eyes continued to gravitate to the words that were on the package.
I know there was no way for her to know how much those words would have meant to me when I opened that package on that day. And that is what made them even more special. That she wrote them on a Tuesday when she decided to wrap Christmas presents. They were just what was in her heart at that very minute, the same as every minute and she wanted to make sure that I knew it. I am just sorry that every other package or card that she had given me wasn’t as appreciated as this one was. I always was thankful but wish that I was better at telling her while I had the chance. I keep those labels and look at them often. Every time I look at them I say another thank you to the mother that loved me every minute of everyday….and tell her I love her too.
It has been a rough year indeed, but I find some peace in the fact that she won’t be in the hospital anymore, she won’t have to take tons of medicine anymore, and I don’t have to worry about her hurting anymore. I want to be selfish and I will continue to cry because I don’t have my mommy here anymore. I keep trying to pull pieces of stories that we have shared over the years to help me since I can’t call and ask her anymore. There is so much that I wish I would have asked her while I had the chance, but now I just have to look in my heart and try to figure it out. She very well might still try to answer me, I just need to be open to how she will get the answer to me.
Mom, I miss your smile and your laugh. I didn’t want to let go of your hand that night. You had the biggest heart of anyone that I know, I’m just sorry it wasn’t strong enough to last many more years. Thank you for being my mother…I will continue trying to make you proud. I love you and I’ll talk to you on the drive home.