There is no way to start this post. I have tried, but it either turns into aimless venting or a rant about what annoys me. I haven’t written recently because I have been so busy with school and adventures with my mom. As you know, we attended (and won!) on The Price is Right, saw a live taping of The Big Bang Theory, spent a weekend with our Georgia peaches on the beautiful Georgia coast, and planned summer adventures to include trips to Dallas, Georgia (again), San Diego, and Lake Tahoe. Projects that have been in the works for a long time were finally coming to fruition. I should have knocked on wood when I said that everything was going really, really right for us. The universe kept acting in our favor, and I was proud to say that darn right, we deserved it.
But as I have said before, nothing good lasts forever. When things keep going right, they are bound to go wrong. This is how it always seems to happen, in my life at least. As soon as this pinnacle of faith and trust is reached, the tablecloth is pulled out from underneath. I have long warned myself of this and have elected to act cautiously as a result. Some call this my anxiety, but I think of it as caution. I don’t like life to surprise me, so I imagine (read: ruminate) on all of life’s potential surprises so that I can be prepared. As my dad always told me, prepare for the worst but hope for the best. And as I say, have low expectations and you will not be disappointed.
Now my pessimistic side of coming out, and I assure you that is not who I am at my core. I am far too bubbly for that, but situations like this lead to me to ground myself deeper and deeper. Perhaps it’s a coping mechanism, but this is beside the point. Back on track, up until May 11, I would not have thought it was crazy to say I was living the perfect life for myself, given the unfortunate circumstances of losing my dad to cancer.
On Thursday, May 10, I had an all around bad day. I dared the week to get worse (never doing that again.) Normally my mom and I talk a lot, but on bad days, we talked extra. I would get in my car and circle around my favorite airport spots countless times while circling around the same conversation with her over and over again. The merry-go-round, she called it. It gives you something to do, but you aren’t actually going anywhere, she said. I lost phone service for a short while Thursday evening, but then I let her know when I got home and we exchanged some normal text messages for our nightly routine.
Friday, May 11, my mom texted me with a normal message, the same as every day. I didn’t think twice before returning to my slumber. I woke up again about an hour and a half later to see a missed call and voicemail from my aunt. I thought it was weird, contemplated going back to sleep, but decided to call her back. She told me my mom was in the hospital and I should come. Now.
My 6:30 AM screams woke up my entire sorority house.
Countless thoughts flooded my mind as I tried to distract myself to not immediately jump to the worst case scenario. But when we arrived at the hospital and I saw my family standing outside with a priest and a chaplain, I knew what happened. No words needed to be said, nor could they. My hands latched my grandma’s arms as I wailed. The sounds I exhaled were ones I did not know myself to be capable of making before this moment. My life flashed before my eyes as I remembered what forever means.
I could not open my eyes as we were escorted to a small conference room setting. My family surrounded me to comfort me, but I could not tell you who did what as my eyes sealed shut and my ears tuned out every noise, unable to discern one voice from the next. I felt this phenomena several times over the following days, completely unaware of my surroundings. Is this the experience they call shock?
It was two days before Mother’s Day, I realized. We had Mother’s Day plans. Her Mother’s Day card was ready. How could she leave right before Mother’s Day? I was baffled, losing my own mom just before Mother’s Day. I began to reflect on just what Mother’s Day means (meant?) to me, remembering our relationship. My mom was easily my best friend in the whole wide world. We were the most feisty dynamic duo, weirder than two peas in a pod. I was her Chu Chu Munga; she was my olive. Everything I did, I did for her, either with her in mind or her as the recipient. Attending school full-time while managing a commercial property, avoiding freeways for surface streets, scheduling classes and meetings around her most precious schedule. I could not live to disappoint her.
The difference between me losing her and anyone else losing her, to me, is astronomical. I still lived a life that was completely dependent on her. I needed her input on how to buy allergy medication and which shampoo is best on my hair. I needed her to tell me if I should take 680 or just hop a layover to LAX (you know very well she supported this). She told me to go to bed and called me to wake up in the mornings. We were closer than bread bound by peanut butter. For most, becoming independent of your parents is a gradual process aided by going away to college and the transition to a career. For me, the band-aid has now been pulled off twice as I am forced to leap into my own bounds of independence without warning. The day before, I was talking to someone about my then-illogical fear of losing my mom, and she told me it won’t be so pressing when I worry down rather than worrying up. That’s the truth — my whole life has been spent worrying about my parents, but one day with a family of my own, that perspective would change.
Ultimately, it will be my life that is most inhibited by this, with a future husband who will not have in-laws and future children who won’t have them as grandparents. I know that I have the support of other people, but nothing, nothing will change this. Nor should it. No one will ever replace what my parents meant to me or what they could do for me and my future. And no one should ever feel like they can. The fact of this is that I will never feel better about these things, but that is my life now, and I need to embrace it, run with it, maximize it. And I will; it will just take time. I am okay with that.
My relationship with my mom was silly, sassy, and spicy. Maybe others didn’t understand it and probably never will, but that was and is okay to us. It was ours, and it didn’t require any other understanding. With my mom on my team, I never needed anything or anyone else. She was a loving go getter with a strong head that got her what she wanted when she wanted it. She had a faith that moved mountains and a smile that parted the clouds in the sky. She drove 72 in a 65 and knew the latest trends better than me. She kept her hands down for hugs but leaped at an opportunity to give me a good night kiss. When I say my mom was my whole universe, I speak the most true words I have ever known.
My mom was proud of where I was going, and that’s why I am not stopping. I want to pause and preserve my life as it is right now, in this moment, as it is the life my mom last knew of me. My mom never wanted to grow old and sick, and now she never has to. She had a beauty that transcended the world, and in my mind, she remains immortally 51. To her, I am immortally 21. I think she would be okay with this.
For a reason I may never know, she had to leave me eleven days ago so that she could be with my daddy again. My biggest prayer is that they found each other in heaven. I don’t know where heaven is or what it looks like, but I hope whichever road she took there led her straight to him. I hope and I pray that whatever they are doing up there, they know I love them and I miss them. I hope they are putting the cards in line for a near-perfect future for me because my gosh, I don’t know if my tired soul can handle another blow.
I am a 21 year old only child who has last both parents within eight months. My biggest fear has come true. To me, this means one thing and one thing only: the storm has past, and I can conquer whatever comes next. I’m proving to myself at a young age that if I can get through this, I can get through anything. Thank God I have two of the best angels in heaven to thank for that.
Mother Mum, I love you like a rockstar.
I am still behind on messages, but thank you to everyone who has reached out. I will respond to you when I am ready.