I am a jumbled mix of emotions this week. Work is crazy busy (thankful!), but this particular week hasn't been smooth sailing for six years now.
I was finishing up a rigorous MBA program when my mom, sick with Parkinson's Disease, went in the hospital and never came out. Two days before my birthday, three months before my graduation, and six months before my wedding, she died.
Last year for the anniversary of her death, I wrote her a letter that was incredibly cathartic. So this year again, I'm going with stream-of-consciousness writing.
Last year I talked a lot about “did I do enough” and I think I resolved in my own mind that I can't change the past and I know I did as much as I could under the circumstances. I hope that you understand that, but since I will never know how you felt, I have to be okay with everything. After six years, I think I'm there.
The biggest question I wish you could answer for me right now is: what did you want to do that you didn't get to? What things can I take on or experience while I'm still on this earth?
I've been thinking a lot about those questions. It's like I have some drive to check off things on your bucket list. But you never really had a bucket list, that I knew of anyway. You were a mom and that was everything. Our interests were your interests and you were there all the time. Were there places you wanted to see or things you wanted to do? If there were, you never let us know. Your identity was tied to us, and I respect that immensely. It still makes me wonder.
Maybe I'm wondering all of this because I'm looking for some sort of life checklist. I feel like I'm doing what I want, yet something is still unsettled. I'm chasing weight loss, but don't really feel like a number on the scale will change things as dramatically as I used to believe they would. I'm doing things I want to do and that I enjoy, and not much of that would change with a number on the scale. Or would it? I have no idea, but there is something inside that knows it's not the magic answer to lifelong fulfillment.
I've felt a little “floaty” lately. I always need 500 different projects going on at the same time so I can stress out and produce good work. As soon as things slow down, it's like my purpose goes away. It's hard to explain, really. I still have passion for things but I don't know how to survive in calm. I had so much chaos going on for several years that when things all seem to fall into place as they are now, it's like I'm waiting for the jack-in-the-box to pop out and scare the shit out of me. I mean, yes, I still have stress and lots of projects going on (cue my near panic attacks 2 days in a row), but it's not quite as hard anymore. Surely there's something I've forgotten on my list of to-dos. So my brain starts reaching – what did mom want to accomplish that she didn't get to? Yet really, it doesn't matter. It won't change that you aren't here to do, see, or achieve. You won't be waiting at the other side of a finish line or at an airport in some foreign land waiting for me. I think I'm chasing something that doesn't exist, because I haven't learned how to handle the calm.
Before I sign off today, I did want to make a conscious note to tell you thank you for something specific:
It seems that people who lose loved ones often achieve things and say “I hope (insert loved one here) would be proud of me.” I don't ever think that, because one of the best things you did was always assure me that I was loved, and you were proud. There was never a time where I wondered what I could do to make you happy, because you always seemed happy no matter what. I think that is an incredible gift that you gave me. For every accomplishment big or small, I always know you are proud. I am so thankful for having that etched in my brain (and in my gut).
I love you with every fiber of my being and am so thankful I was your daughter.
I saw this photo and just chuckled. My mom would have been so happy that some 80s trends are coming back. Wow, she really embraced trends on herself and on my sister and I. Sorry Lauren for posting this photo. Seriously though – what is up with my cardigan? No wonder people stared at us so much when we were in Hong Kong. Phew! Love it though 🙂