Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Dear Mama....a letter to my mother on the first anniversary of her death.

Dear Mama,

I can't believe a year has passed. I still can't believe that you're gone. I know the truth of it, I was there. But sometimes, as I go through my days, it still suddenly brings me up short. And the seeming impossibility of it strikes me. How could this really be true? You, who were always such a powerful force in my life, are just gone.

For the first couple of months after you died, I had the impulse to call you almost every day, mostly to tell you something silly or sweet that one the girls had done. Slowly, that impulse faded, as I reminded myself that I couldn't, so I guess in a way the reality has sunk in, at least somewhat.

I also cried every single day, mostly in the car, driving to and from work, when it was quiet. I don't do that anymore, it only hits me in certain moments, so I guess that's healing, right?

Life has it's inevitable way of moving forward. The seasons continue to turn, the children are growing. Helena and Lucy are good for me in that way. They keep me grounded in the present, keep me from wallowing in loss. You knew that about children, I remember you saying something quite similar once. 

I wish Lucy had known you long enough to remember you. Helena has such wonderful memories of the time you two spent together. When talks about you, she often says that you were, "like a kid." You would like that, I know. She feels your absence keenly. She doesn't talk about it much, but when she does, I can see it and feel it, it's palpable, her sense of loss of you.

I know, believe even, that we are eternal, in some way. Whether we go to some place like heaven, or just become part of some cosmic collective energy, I do believe that we go on. The thing is, that doesn't comfort me much. It's not being reunited with you again sometime down the line that I'm concerned with, or the even thought that existence might just end. It's right here and now that I miss you. I miss talking with you, I miss holding you, I miss your sweet face. 

Your death has affected me in more ways that I can probably count, but the biggest of them, besides, of course, the missing of you, is that I no longer have a belief in my own longevity. You were so strong to me, so indomitable, so forever. I knew, of course, that that wasn't really completely true. But I was supposed to care for you in your old age, watch you become a wizened, feisty old lady, like grandma. I miss grandma, but it's hard to feel cheated when someone lives to 93. 64 is a raw deal as far as I'm concerned. And if it could happen to you, it could happen to me.

So it isn't that I'm certain that I'll die young, I'm just no longer certain that I'll live to a ripe old age. Which is actually a good thing, and probably a normal part of aging and maturing, the acceptance of mortality. It's pushing me to do things I might have waited on, and given me a perspective on life that I value. Even the strongest of us are not guaranteed any certain amount of life span, just the ability to make the most of what they have. I hope I'm learning to do more of that.

I think it could probably ramble on for pages about how much your being gone just sucks, but it would be redundant. The raw truth is that I just miss you, all the time.

Your loving daughter, 


rosaria williams said...

Oh Diana, this is so achingly beautiful in its honesty, its clarity, its rawness.
You do know that she'd be so proud of you and the girls; that thought might one day become enough of a comfort.

Blessings to you and yours.

Lori ann said...

oh honey. life is beautiful and brutal. and so not fair. i so understand and feel your loss (i hope i'm not presuming) as i lost my own mom not long ago either (next month will be 2 years, it's hard to believe it's been that long already). the thing that helps me is i try to remember how lucky it was to have such a relationship, my mom was my best friend.