Missing What I Missed


Last Friday would have been my mom’s 98th birthday. I know this will sound a bit creepy, but try to get past that with me. It dawned on me a few years ago, that she likely wouldn’t have lived this long. And that somehow made me feel sort of like it was ok now, since she’d likely have died by now, and I could miss her a little less than I have for so many years. My mom died when I was just a month shy of 14. I was a very young, naïve almost 14 year old. It was a tough time to lose your mom…as if there’s any good time to lose your mom.

Through those many years, I’ve missed my mom for so many reasons. All the big things I went through without her advice or support…”becoming a young woman”, first crush, driving, dating, graduating, college, first job, first car, getting married, getting divorced…just about everything. When I was young, I missed her emotionally, but when it came to the everyday things, I just went on, because that’s what I thought everyone sort of expected of me. I didn’t stop to think too much about what I was really missing.

But as I’ve gotten older, and started looking at it from an adult perspective, I’ve realized some things. I never really got to know my mom as a fellow grown-up. I never got to talk her about her childhood, her romance with my dad, her young adult years, or her marriage. I didn’t get to ask her advice about the major, or minor, decisions I faced. I didn’t get to cry on her shoulder when the guy I had a huge crush on didn’t even give me the time of day. She didn’t get to meet the man I wanted to marry, and give her approval. She didn’t help me decide what I wanted to be, or see me graduate from either high school or college. And she never knew about the jobs I took over the years, or the work I did. She never got to see me teach.

We missed out on hanging out together as adults…going shopping, eating lunch somewhere, having coffee and a good, long talk. We didn’t get to discuss politics, religion, or the environment. I don’t know what her favorite things were…songs, foods, books. I have only limited knowledge of what she liked, because she probably cooked those foods for us, or sang us those songs, but it was from the perspective of a child.

There are so many things I would love to ask her…how did you meet Dad? How did you know you were in love with him? What kind of jobs did you have? What did you like to do with your girlfriends? What was your favorite song? What kind of books did you like to read? Were you happy being a mom?

And then we move into a very difficult piece of this whole mind game. Mom died of breast cancer, and when I was diagnosed, there was a rush of many more questions I would love to be able to ask her. And a whole wave of realization of what she must have gone through. In a weird way, thinking about her battle made mine a bit easier to handle. I knew I had technology and time passed on my side. She probably had very little hope back then. And I kept telling myself, “If she could fight it, so can I.”

I didn’t mean for this piece to get all sad and bring everyone down. I just wanted to share this realization with you because it’s very intriguing to me. I compare it to a situation where when a young child dies, we can only remember them as a child. And when your mom dies when you are young, you only remember her from your child’s perspective. I happen to believe that my mom, and those others that have passed on, can somehow know how I’m doing. And I know I still have lived my life based on what they taught me, and what they passed on to me in an indirect way. And that gives me great comfort. I’d love to be able to ask my mom what she thinks of my blog, but I’ll just have to assume she’d somehow let me know if she thought it sucked.



2 responses »

  1. This is so poignant. You are so brave for putting it all out there. I have so many similar feelings about my Mom and she did not die until she was 75! I do believe they are looking out for us on some level as I’ve certainly felt twinges of her approval and disapproval as I’ve bumbled along since she died.

  2. okay, I’m all verklempt now.. this is wonderful. I actually feel like I know what your mom is like, because I am sure you are just like her. So here you go… your mom was witty, a fabulous cook, shy in some ways, extremely creative… confident sometimes and not confident others, brilliant, loved kids, devoted to her husband, strong in her faith… and best of all A WONDERFUL FRIEND TO HER friends. Love you.

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