Mom Would Know

10 05 2015

Olan Mills

I wish I blogged more.

It’s one of those things, though, that is kind of like saying, “I wish I had a cleaner house,” or “I wish my book was all edited.” You can wish all you want, but unless you do something about it, nothing will change.

Here is my attempt to change into something I’d like to be better at. And even though I’m sure I’ll cry through the entire writing of it, I will persist.

My mom passed away in December, after battling brain cancer for over three years.

She was 67, much too young to be done living.

I am 37, much too young to be without a mother.

But, alas, we don’t get to choose when people die. (When that occurs, it’s called “murder,” and that is a very bad thing.) Even though I’m too young to be without a mother, and mom was too young to be done living, it still happened. So I trudge along as best as I can without her.

That doesn’t mean I don’t miss her. I miss her every day.

That doesn’t mean I’m unhappy, either. I am very happy.

But there is the space in my world that she used to fill, and it’s empty now. No, it’s worse than that–it’s a vacuum. Things get sucked inside of it. Things she told me and things she taught me and the way her laugh sounded–there’s a black hole there, and I have a memory, an imprint, but it’s just a whisper. A shadow. A wraith I see in my peripheral vision, but when I turn to see it fully, in color and three-dimensions, living and breathing . . . it’s gone.

When someone has cancer, you supposedly prepare for this sort of thing. You know that damn cancer is eating away at the person you love, and so you store up everything possible: stories, pictures, smiles, hugs, kisses.

And I did do that.

But, as the old saying goes, you don’t know what you don’t know.

I didn’t know I didn’t know the special trick to a certain recipe. I didn’t know I didn’t know how this or that relative is connected to me. Or the way to fix a quilting issue. Or the way to parent a stubborn child.

“Mom would know.” She’s only been gone six months, and I probably think that phrase twice a day. Things that before I could call her about and she could tell me in less than thirty seconds.

Shoot, she’d even be able to tell me what it’s like to lose and grieve for your mother. She lost her own when I was just a teenager.

Sweet Colby talks about her several times a week as he’s saying his prayers. He’ll look at me for confirmation. “Oh, Grandma’s in heaven. Grandma feels better.” I’ll reassure him that, yes, she is in heaven, and, yes, she is all better now. “Oh, Grandpa doesn’t have a brain.” (I always tack “tumor” on the end, but no matter how many times I say it he just can’t seem to remember.) And then he’ll say, “Grandpa’s heart hurts.”

That is my experience with grief thus far: the pain, the aching, the hurting. It doesn’t go away, either, although there are days when I feel it less than others.

But today is Mother’s Day, albeit very early on Mother’s Day, and so I am resigned to it hurting a whole ton. I will let it wash over me. I will allow myself to feel it. I will cry. And I won’t feel ashamed of my tears or try to explain them away.

I will hold my children close and tell them stories of my childhood, stories about their grandmother. I will laugh with them and cry with them.

And I will send a special prayer through Heavenly Father to my mom, to let her know how much I love and miss her.

But I’m pretty sure she already knows.