Today marks a year since the worst day of my life. On that day I lost the most important person to me, my mother. Because of that, I lost the only life I had ever known. There was the life I knew before I lost my mother and the completely altered life I was faced with after I lost her. As with any other tragedy, I want to use the anniversary of that day to reflect and remember.
I was always an extension of my mother. When she passed away, a part of me left with her. Since I could remember we were inseparable. She was the first person I called with any good news, the person I leaned on when I was at my lowest and the one who knew exactly what to say when I needed advice. She was my North Star, always guiding me where I needed to be. Without her, the world became very dark.
Over the last few weeks I’ve come across a lot of stories of grief. I wasn’t seeking them, but they continued to find me. A woman who suddenly lost her husband was speaking on her life after loss and commented, “People who are dealing with loss end up becoming very isolated.” That’s exactly what most of this last year has felt like.
My support system changed. The only person I could always count on to be there for me, no matter what, was gone. Instead of feeling like the rest of my the people in my life rallied around me to help build me back up, over time they drifted away. Everyone went on about their lives while I felt like I was drowning in sorrow.
In order to keep from completely falling apart I needed something to fill my time and distract me from the overwhelming sadness I felt. Which led me to reading. In order to help with the loss of love, I began reading about it. In all about love by bell hooks a line stuck out to me – “Knowing love is the anchor that keeps us from falling into that sea of despair”.
My mother’s love was that anchor. Many days, the memory of that love was the only thing I had to hold onto. The kind of love that lifts you when you fall, that believes in you when you doubt yourself, that surrounds you in your darkest moments. Once you know that kind of love, you feel it even if the person is no longer there.
Over this past year I’ve struggled to understand and cope with this loss. I’ve struggled to move past it and find joy in life. I’ve shed so many tears, felt physical heartache and cried out for answers. There were none. So I’ve tried to battle those days with memories of my mom’s encouraging words, her laugh, her smile and how full of pure love she was.
Even though I can’t call her to laugh about something silly I see while walking home, or cry to her about how much I miss her or share the ups and downs in my life, I know she’s still that anchor. She always was and always will be. Her happiness came from seeing me happy. Even though this loss has been devastating, I try to be happy for her.
While our time together was cut too short, how grateful I was to know such true, unconditional, unwavering love. That sort of love transcends life and death. Some people haven’t known that kind of love for a day. For that, while it hurts that she’s no longer here, I’m incredibly grateful to have had her as my mother.