I can't believe it's been an entire year already. Each day without you gets a bit easier, but the part of my heart that you have permanent residence in? It's always going to be a bit jagged and painful. Just a bit. I know that pain will lessen the longer it goes, but I also know I will always, always miss you!
This morning I saw a car with a handicap thing hanging from its rearview mirror and it made me think of you. The days leading up to Mother's Day last weekend were filled with advertisements all about celebrating and it made me miss you fiercely. (I've learned holidays will do that. I have much more compassion for those who are grieving around any major holiday now.) I visited Biltmore Estate last weekend with friends and all the beautiful flowers reminded me of how much you loved them. How much you would work in your flowerbeds and how many hours and hours we spent at greenhouses (I also remember how much I dreaded going, I didn't understand your love of flowers back then, did I? :) looking for just the perfect ones to plant. I never knew there were so many reminders of you around, but there are. And I simultaneously love it, yet it makes me cry.
I used to read in fictional stories about how a character who had lost one or both of their parents years before the story begins would still get teary-eyed when they thought of them. I remember sort of rolling my eyes, thinking that surely the grief couldn't still be that fresh. Ah, how wrong I was! I don't cry at the drop of a hat, but when I spend a good deal of time (like today) thinking about you and all that I miss and how much I wish you were here, the tears come. And I think how could I be any different? I think it's just part of loving someone so much. Your heart will forever miss them once they're gone. So kudos to the authors! Because they were right.
Dad and I stopped by your gravesite the other evening. I told him how I don't often visit you there, but every once in a while I feel the need to go talk to you. There's something soothing about it, telling you all the things I'd tell you if you were here.
That's one thing I really miss, talking to you. All these memories from years past have surfaced in the last year. Things I'd forgotten all about. But now I remember all the times I sat with you and cried over the aches and pains I dealt with. All the teenage angst and the friendship issues and the fears and wonders. You listened. Every single time. You couldn't always fix it, but you always listened and always had a hug for me. I never once doubted that you'd be there when I needed it. And I'm so grateful, mom. I wish I had told you how much that meant to me over the years.
My heart is full though. I had you in my life for just over 30 years and while I wish I could've had you for 30 more, I'm so glad for the memories I have. Some people lose their mom far sooner than I! Instead, I have your quiet example always before me. You taught me so much more than even the words you spoke, and you made me feel loved and wanted every single day of my life. So I'll gather that love deep inside me for the days my grief hits a bit harder and trust the Ever Faithful to keep me going.
I love you whole bunches, mom. Forever and always!