One year ago this weekend I made an impromptu trip to visit my parents. My brother and his family ended up joining us...my niece and her family came too. It was a house full of craziness...there was laughter, stories, a few tears of remembrance, but lots of fun. Lots of fun.
Towards the end of that weekend Mom wasn't feeling well. She said that she was getting a bladder infection and would call her doctor Monday. We had a great weekend with lots of fun, but we all knew she wasn't feeling great as the weekend wound down. She didn't want us to leave early and let her rest, as most of us figured the house full of people plus 4 kids under the age of 8 was probably wearing thin on her nerves. She would hear none of it...nobody was leaving early...she was fine.
Well, in less than a week...she was gone.
I wonder if maybe she knew that her time was near. Maybe she knew so she wanted us to stay so that she could squeeze the last bit of time together out into some wonderful memories. Maybe she had been feeling bad for a while and knew that it was getting worse and that she didn't have much time left. Hard to say really...my Mom was a tough gal and if she said her pain was a "5" that would probably have been more like a "10" for you and I.
There are things about that weekend I cannot change. I can't change that I didn't go a day earlier or stay a day longer. I can wish that I would've, but I can't change it. I was there when I was there.
I can't change that I didn't stick around and try to convince her to go to the doctor Monday instead of waiting a few days. And, the fact is, maybe I would've TRIED, but my Mom was pretty stubborn, so if she called the doc and felt that was enough, that would've been the end of that discussion. Then instead of regret maybe I'd be feeling anger at her for not going in to see him instead of calling.
I wish I would've hugged her a little longer when we said our "Goodbyes" as the kids and I prepared to head south. I know I hugged her, and I know I told her that I loved her. I remember watching her and Dad as we pulled away and worrying about Dad. He hadn't been the best that weekend and I was worried about him. Little did I know that the glimpse back at the two of them was the last time I'd see her alive.
So, as I reflect on the one year mark of seeing my Mom for the last time, I remember her and all that she taught me. I hope that I can teach Avery & Drake lessons that Mom passed on to me. I hope that wherever she is she knows that I think about her every day. This family reunion is not going to be the same without her there. She will be all around us in spirit, but her physical presence will be missed greatly.
I am healing...I am grieving. I am not done with either, but I am better. I think of her every day and don't always shed a tear. I miss her horribly and realize now that those feelings are part of my daily reality. I will never have a day that I don't miss her, but it is OK to miss her and remember her with happiness. The happiness of having her with me for those years...there is sadness that our time wasn't longer, but I am trying to focus on being happy for the time we DID have and not dwell on the time we didn't.
I miss you Mom, and I'll love you always.