As I type this, I'm thinking about the events of 12 years ago. How everything was normal one minute and the next, everything I knew was different. My mom passed away.
In that moment, everything changed. I didn't know how I'd go on from there. It didn't make sense. I heard the words my husband said and felt panic. It was after 11 p.m., so traveling 6 hours north wasn't an option that late at night. I had to start in the morning. There was no sleep. There were moments of "sleep" in between the panic, the sobs and the disbelief. I still wonder how I didn't wake our 2 year-old daughter that night.
We went thought the next 10 days as a family, tight-knit and confused. Hurt. Well, it really went on longer than that. The grieving process still continues.
Mom and I had a good relationship, but we were very different. As a mom, I understand that our styles are just very different. Part upbringing, part personality, part time. I know I wasn't always an easy kid. I do think there was some time during those teenage years where we didn't speak. I like to think it was because we were both too head-strong.
As I got older and moved out and got married, the relationship shifted. I think the more adult me came out and we were able to build anew. We still had our moments, especially after she spoke to my grandmother on the phone, but I enjoyed talking to her, sending a quick e-mail or visit.
When she was gone, I really understood the mother-daughter relationship and how unique and wonderful it was. Moms are really a daughter's first best friend. Don't get me wrong, they "mom" first, but they do everything with such love. It's really remarkable how much moms do.
As 12 years have now passed since I heard her voice, her laugh and her wisdom, I do completely understand that she's been with me all along. Even those pieces I didn't love the most are with me. Without her pushing, I don't know that I'd even be sitting here blogging, running a Coaching business, daring to be me. As a mom, I know I'm doing things a little different (heck, ask my sister!), but I know and understand the love my mom did have, even if she had different way to show it.
She still manages to teach me every day. While I was commuting for work a few years ago, I always found signs she was around. A rainbow in the sky that was a small spot that I'm sure no one else even really noticed, or a bumper sticker with the same name as her private high school when we don't live anywhere near her home state.
Often I wonder if I made her proud. I know the answer, but my heart often wonders. Would she approve of my choices? Would she know the answers to all of my burning questions? What would she do?
Many of these answers go unanswered, at least verbally. I wish for one more conversation to ask about all the things I never got to ask. I wish for her to know my son, who was born 4 weeks later. I wish for her to have a special bond with my daughter. My heart knows that she does, but I so wish it were in person.
She'll never be gone from my heart. She'll never be gone from me. I'm grateful for everything she was able to teach me (especially in those stubborn-Karen-years…I was a "Karen" before being a Karen was a thing!).
Mom, I miss you every day. Thank you for finding the ways to teach and guide me. Love you!
Want to know more? Check out the podcast "Flushing it Out with Samantha Spittle" where I talk to Samantha about how this event shaped me!