I often find myself reading posts from Grief to Hope with Nikki Pennington on Facebook with tears in my eyes at the connections I make. She takes my thoughts and beautifully puts them into words every time.
A post she made yesterday had me hoping and wishing that today I’d be given opportunities to talk about my mom.
But being a mom came first today. A little one who is sick and his big brother who needed constant attention. A gross day outside with flowers to planet. Laundry to fold. Bills to pay. Life happened.
No one ever asked me about her and I decided that I owed myself this moment to write about all the things I had hoped someone had asked me about my mom. Her name, what she was like, and all those intimate details that I think about every single day when I miss her.
Her name was Debra, but she went by Debbie. She was an incredible wife and mom. She had the greatest smile and an infectious laugh. She loved the same white Reeboks and bought the exact same shoes every year. She loved to shop on Saturday’s and had a strong affinity for B.Moss and Kohl’s. She enjoyed eating Mikesell’s potato chips and Sandies pecan shortbread cookies. She took care of every single one of her nieces and nephews like they were her very own and when life was particularly tough for our extended family she stepped in exactly where she was needed. She was a 4-H club leader and a member of Mohawk United Methodist Church. She played the organ at church and had played there since she was 17 years old. She made Pillsbury cinnamon rolls or cherry turnovers every Sunday morning and while they baked she would practice that day’s hymns on the organ while everyone got ready.
So many people say that I look like her. They say our smile and our facial features are so much alike. I see it when I look back at pictures.
They day she left for Heaven was definitely the worst day of my life. A difficult decision had been laid upon us after we watched her fight for her life for 18 days. A very sudden death. A tragic death. A death that shook the whole community, really. A death that never destroyed our family because we’re entirely too strong to be destroyed, but it did change us forever. A death that may have been prevented if the hospital would have done their job right the first time. A death that makes me wonder day in and day out so many “what ifs” to mistakes that people had made. A death that makes me angry for having to live through so many special moments and so many major adult choices without the rock of our family and the glue that held us all together. I’ve never doubted I’ll see her again, but I certainly wonder what that joyous day will be like. I have so many questions to ask her about that day she left for Heaven. Every day since she’s left has been slightly sad, because without her life just really isn’t the same.
I miss her every day. I miss her so much that I experience physical pain and depression at times. I have two blue eyed babies and one handsome man who make getting out of bed worth the struggle. But I miss her.
I have days and weeks where my husband is working long nights or out of town and I think – if mom were here none of this would be difficult. Heck, she’d probably just stay the night with me when he was gone if I really needed her to. That’s the kind of mom she was.
My mom lived her life always giving to others. She lived to serve the Lord and she always wanted to help others.
I deal with my sadness and grief by trying to keep her memory alive. I’m active in the church she raised me in. I volunteer time in our county 4-H program that she was a part of. I cook the recipes she brought to our table growing up. I visit her grave and eat a cupcake on her birthday. I tell my boys stories about the amazing Mamaw Debbie they never knew. I love her grandkids (my nieces and nephews) in ways I know she would. I spend time with her sisters who remind me of her in so many ways. I spend time with her friends who take care of me like I’m one of theirs.
My boys don’t know their Mamaw and as the years pass by I feel like my mom is slipping away too. The memories start to fade because the business of life takes over.
My mom lives in me each and every day and Mother’s Day is one of the many holidays that is difficult to get through without shedding a few tears. It’s a struggle to get through this day knowing I can’t celebrate with her in person.
I’m blessed to spend this day as a momma myself. The reason I get up every single morning.
I’m blessed that I have memories of my mom.
I am fortunate to have been raised by the greatest mom there was. The day may cause an ache in my heart but nothing can separate us.