As of 1/7/2020, that’s how long my mother has been dead. When your mother dies and you are still a child there are a lot of things that happen to you along the way in your journey.
The first and foremost thing you feel is the releasing of your mooring. Along with the grief, all the adults around you are suffering from, you have a sense that you have been cast adrift. At sea. Alone. No navigation system. No rudder. No engine. No radar. No one to answer your S.O.S. You will be facing Life’s storms alone.
Plus the grief all the adults around you are feeling for the absence of someone you all loved dearly.
As you go through said Life with said storms — you learn. You sink and you swim. Depending on how competent your father might be, you also might be keeping him from drowning as well. Or one day — you might just have to let go of him to save yourself. Because you finally realize — above all else — the most important thing to your mother would have been for YOU to survive. So you do.
In Your Life, there are moments when you miss her with every fiber of your being. The graduations, The marriages, the birth of your children — oh my Goddess — the birth of your children — it damn near kills you that she isn’t there for this. How can YOU be a mother without HER there to teach you?
And the birth of your grandchildren — because she never had the chance to be a grandmother to her grandchildren — and that simply makes your heart ache for her.
There also All. The. Other. Things. When your child needs a transplant — when your marriage falls apart — when you’re sitting on your couch barely breathing all alone. You would give so much to see her walk in your door.
Then there are the anniversaries which fuck with your head. The year you turned twenty-five when you marked the place in time you had lived more of Your Life without her than with her. The years after your older daughter turned twelve and you had to figure out how to mother someone past the blueprint you had in your head of what a mother looked like. Because after that age, you had no idea what that looked like. The year you turned fifty-five and you held your breath for 365 days as you lived longer than she did and turned fifty-six.
In the forty-eight years since my mother left this world, I have been fortunate to have had a Life filled with love. The Universe has kindly sent me Humans everywhere I turn to support me and care for me.
And I know my mother is not ‘lost’ to me. I grieve deeply for the absence of her physical presence because grief is not something we ever heal from. Grief is something we grow around. In the places I have grown — I have found bits of her still here.
She is in my granddaughter’s eyes. She is in my sister’s pizzelles. She is in memories and touchstones and stories told. She is pieces of my past woven together which make me who I am. She is the love she gave me for the first twelve years of my existence which has lasted me for the whole of My Life.
Because when you lose your mother as a child, the last final thing you learn is the Love of your mother is never gone. She may not be here anymore, but Her Love is always wrapped around you.