Note: I have several posts on here about my mom, who passed away in 2007 from complications of young onset Parkinson’s Disease. I am striving to live a life full of experiences she wasn’t able to. Today would have been her 59th birthday.
I know you would hate today if you were here since 59 is so close to 60. I remember when I was young and we lived in Augusta, I had a makeshift surprise birthday party for you and invited a couple of your neighborhood friends. A handmade banner that said “36” was front and center, and you were horrified at people seeing that number!
I wonder what you would think about 36 if you knew you would die at 50. No one could have known that. The mysteries of life: we never know how much time we have. This day is a good reminder – I haven’t had nearly all the adventures I want to. I haven’t had nearly the amount of fun I want to. Just one of the many reasons I love you – the perspective is appreciated as I’ve found myself eyeballs deep in work and responsibilities. Sometimes it seems so much easier to bury yourself in the busy work than to open yourself up to new things. Or in my case this year, to try to open myself back up after feeling like life kicked me closed.
I did something today I usually don’t do: I went to the cemetery. It’s always an internal struggle when I’m near it and don’t go. You’re not there. Just remnants buried deep with a stone bearing a name I never recognized you by. It’s so formal and not what I grew up with, so in some ways it makes the stone feel even colder. But today I felt very much alone and for some reason getting some coffee and touching your stone felt like the right thing to do. I just sat in the grass and stared at your name. I don’t think I’ve ever done that in the 8 years you’ve been gone. Tears just rolled down my face in a continual stream but I couldn’t identify exactly why I was crying. I think it was a mix of things really: Sadness that you didn’t get to live the life you wanted; regret that I didn’t realize you were so sick; anger over time we didn’t get; frustration that I can’t remember your voice; exasperation that you never wanted to be in pictures.
Sitting there, I felt the snowball of recent losses. Loss of a mother, loss of a family, loss of a union, and loss of friends who stopped showing up. I felt so much loss sitting in the grass that I felt completely empty by the time I stood up and brushed off my pants. I was probably only there 8 minutes or so – it’s amazing how much the brain can process and the body can feel in such a short period of time.
While I was there, I noticed a few other people nearby who were visiting their loved ones across the beautiful cemetery. As I got back in my car and drove the winding roads back to the entrance, I thought about them, and about myself. We’ve all gone through loss, but we’re lucky enough to still be standing. As empty as we feel, we still have infinite capacity to cultivate relationships, give love, experience joy, and appreciate the time we have while we’re alive. That’s perspective I wouldn’t have found if I hadn’t visited your stone today, and that’s just what I needed. Thank you.
I hate that you’re gone, but I appreciate the lessons you continue to teach me. I miss you more than words.
With all my love forever and always,
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More posts about my mom:
- Parkinson’s Disease – her story
- Peaks and Valleys – August 2009
- A Voice – April 2010
- Why So Emotional? – April 2010
- Happy Thoughts – August 2010
- 55 – August 2011
- Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda – April 2012
- 56 – August 2012
- Six Years, Slow Healing – April 2013
- 57 – August 2013
- 58 – August 2014
- You Begin to Forget – April 2015