brown paper envelope on table

A letter to my first love, mom

It’s been a while mom, but in my heart you will forever be. Although 8 years have gone past, I miss you dearly every day. On the 10th of August 2014, the doctor talked me through your scans. I honestly don’t remember much of what he said except for the part where he told me you only had 21 days left to live. I could not believe that this is my mom about whom he was talking. The person I most felt safe with, the one who loved me with everything she had. The one I had known the longest, my first love.

Okay, what did 21 days mean? My brain knew about Cancer as I had done some research, but my heart didn’t care much for that scientific stuff. I still needed my mom here, with me. You cannot give me a few days, there was no way. I had planned a lifetime with you. We had so much to laugh about and still had so much love to give and receive.

I felt really overwhelmed, wondering how I was going to fit in everything I wanted to do or say within those few days. My reality was that I could not do much outside your hospital bed, you were in so much pain that the doctors kept you medicated.

Why can’t I remember most of those last days with you? It almost felt like an out of body experience. Time stood still; I could not process all information that was available to me. My brain shut down, there was no way I could start grieving; you were still here. Our forever is what I had in mind. It’s not that I was not aware of death. How come I never associated it with you? Should I have seen the signs, or were there signs at all. How did I not see how much pain you were in and your daily struggle? Why did you have to be so brave?

Even though we never discussed what was to come, we both knew. Whenever our eyes connected, you seemed peaceful as if to tell me you were okay. With each hospital visit, my heart ached so much, but I promised not to shed tears in your presence. I wanted to be strong for you. Until much later, I realized that you didn’t want me to be strong, you were still mom, and I was your baby. Nothing had changed.

As each year passes, I try to figure out what I could have done differently from that day. Not once did we talk about what fate had planned for us, could it have made any difference at all. I often wonder what you were going through during that time. How lonely it must have been for you.

With a heavy heart, I continued with other aspects of my life. Putting on a different persona at work and around people who knew me. Client conversations carried on as normal. I decided not to share how our lives had been turned upside down. The last thing I needed was to be told that everything was going to be okay, because I knew it wasn’t. Nothing was ever going to be okay.

A couple of days after your passing, I lost my phone with all the photos I took of you during your last days. For some reason this sounded like your plan, you didn’t want me to remember you at your most vulnerable moment. You knew I would look at those pictures and bawl my eyes out every day. And you know I have tears for days. I still have great pics of you, so that is okay.

You used to tell us to look after dad when you are gone. I am not sure what you knew then as we were still young. I don’t think I did a decent job mom, he followed you 7 years later.

You fought for twenty of those days with such amazing courage, thank you mom.

After losing you I was lost for an awfully long time. Nothing made sense and still doesn’t for most part. I carried a lot of guilt with me. Not once did I ask you to stay even just for a little longer. Because I had known you for long, in my heart I knew you had accepted everything. But as your daughter, should I have asked? Would it have been selfish to ask even though I could see how exhausted you were.

I am sorry it took me a long time to seek counselling and neglected to comfort your grieving grandchildren. But when I finally did, it helped me find my way back to life. I am not angry anymore, I now know that grief takes a different form as time passes.

Your presence is felt in my life every day. Through your granddaughter, I see your fighting spirit and through your grandson your loving soul.

I still worry about forgetting certain things about you, how you sounded through your laughter. Your smell when you gave those warm hugs.

I haven’t defined my fashion style as yet, a work in progress. You won’t be disappointed, high heels are still part of my wardrobe (although I been known to go overboard with the purchases). As for cooking, you are going to have to wait a little longer.

Thank you for being my mom. I love you, I miss you eternally.

Dealing with grief:

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