fourteen years


I was listening to music tonight and a song came on by an artist who my mother really liked. This particular artist played on the radio every five minutes for a few weeks after my mother died, and some of the lyrics of this song are about being in the arms of angels. It has absolutely nothing to do with my mother, it’s about addiction I think, but there’s enough there that it immediately brings me back to how it felt when my mom passed away.

This song is on my list of favorites, it plays quite a bit, but tonight, it took me by surprise. I didn’t have time to brace myself for all of the memories that came up. I thought of when she died, I thought of when she lived. I thought of my life now and how much I miss her, even the totally messed-up, not even close to halfway perfect mom she was. It might sound harsh, but she was a pretty awful mother. Totally depressed, totally empty, selfish, and childlike. Not much to give. My childhood sucked. But I still wish I had a mom.

You know what I miss? Advice on how to cook. Someone who knows what preschool I went to and what childhood illnesses I might have had. Answers to questions that I can’t get. Ever.

And, there was one thing that she was actually better at than anyone else…

She was the ONLY other person, aside from me, who cared about every single teeny, tiny thing that my kids said or did. No one wants to hear that much or that level of detail about my kids. I got feedback as a young mother that they were all I talked about, and it was boring. But I could tell it all to my mom. She was as obsessed as I was. My partner in boring, motherhood-crime.

It’s been fourteen years. Now, I just remember. It’s not the sharp, stabbing pain anymore. It’s dull. It aches, but it doesn’t exactly hurt.

It almost feels good to feel them, those feelings that come up and used to overwhelm me. The loss and the grief over what I missed and what I can never have. I feel so alone, but I don’t go under anymore. The emptiness fills my chest, and surrounds my body. I give in and swim in it for a while.

Then the next song comes on and the mood is lifted. Life resumes. Life without my mom.

I wish she was here, but she’s not. But she was. And, I’m thankful for that.


She’s in the arms of the angels, may she find some comfort there.

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