and then there were two

i couldn't sleep early, early this morning, so i walked from bed to bed just to watch my sons dream.  i perched there, on the edge of their bedspreads and crinkled sheets, imagining them transforming before my eyes: fourth grade, sixth grade, ninth grade, senior...gone.

the hole in my heart at that moment felt large enough to swallow itself whole, jagged edges slicing the beating flesh the whole way down its never-ending throat.

i thought, this is how my mom must have felt when i went off to college, and when she lost a little bit of herself and never quite recovered.

of course, she drove to see me whenever i needed anything, and we talked at least five times per day and i went home often, stayed there five weeks during winter break, all summer every summer, and moved home (well, to an apartment near home) upon graduation.

i realized how it didn't matter how old i got, i still needed my parents. 

they're who i call when i have a question. important questions like: how long should i put the meatloaf in the oven, or not so important questions like: what's the weather supposed to be like tomorrow?  (because calling my dad is way more time efficient than turning on the news or checking my phone for that information).

in the weeks after my mom died i laughed with my cousin (not so much ha ha laugh as much as i'm dying somewhere inside my chest laugh) about how we need to create an AskMom app, because there are just so many questions to ask a mom like: how much money should i put in this wedding card, mom? or what are the kids supposed to wear to this event, mom? or what does grandma need for her birthday this year, mom? or who's having Easter this year, mom and am i supposed to bring anything, and will you call her and tell her for me? or my son has a fever, mom, so i should call nurse direct and call you right back? or who do you want to win on the bachelorette, mom?

my uncle's mom died this past weekend and i went to the funeral, though it was at the same church my mom's funeral was not three months ago, and i realized that whether you're 38 or 60, you'll miss your mom when she dies, because a mom is a mom, and you are always her child.  my uncle's dad passed away a few years ago, too, so now he's parentless.  alone in the world.

it's just me and my dad now, no brothers and sisters.

and then there were two.

one of the grief booklets my dad got from the hospital or nursing home said something about how losing your mom is like losing a little bit of your identity, and that is true.  because she knows me like no other. she's the one with all the stories about when she was pregnant with me, when i was born, my first steps, my first words, she knows i liked bananas when i was little (noooo waaay! gross!) and remembers the stories about me in kindergarten.  she remembers way too much about my middle and high school years that I've forgotten (probably for good reason) yet she held onto it all.  she's the only one to call me by my middle name and the only one i could tell when i was humiliated, or could gossip to about someone who really, really pissed me off without feeling like i was committing this huge sin or worried that what i said would be passed all around town and get me into trouble.

so when she died, i lost it all.

anyways, all this went through that horrible, terrible throat of my heart that swallowed itself when i realized that i might be like my mom was when my kids grow up and leave the house. i might need to prepare for that so that i don't lose myself completely and so that i can be around throughout their college lives and after to still be that mom they need.  so that i can be there for their kids, and watch them make their first communions and attend their weddings and babysit for them and live to be 90+ like my grandma.

once a mom always a mom.  i need to remember that while watching my little ones grow up overnight.


  1. You did not lose it all. Over the hours, days, weeks, months, and years of your mother's love and wisdom, seeds were sown into your heart and mind. They took root. All the kind, loving, wise words and actions from you are the fruit of those seeds.

    Appreciate your children while they are close. No one, child or adult, is promised tomorrow, much less next year. As much as you were shaped by your mother, you are being shaped by each child.

    Whenever someone who knows you dies, you lose one version of yourself. Yourself as you were seen, as you were judged to be. Lover or enemy, brother or friend, those who know us construct us, and their several versions slant the different facets of our character like diamond-cutter's tools. Each such death is a step leading to our own grave, where all versions blend and end.

    Yet, we must also realize we, too, are shaping those around us, those who care about us. Life is so fleeting and fragile. Treasure those around you who love you and nourish them as you were nourished. I think we receive love to pass it on.

    You are still healing. Don't force it. Healing is a season with its own time-table. You are in my thoughts and prayers daily. Roland

  2. Firstly, if I could reach my arms through cyber space and give you a hug I would. So please pretend that I can. This was gut-wrenching for me. Although your loss is extremely deep, I can see and feel the special relationship you had with your mom. Cherish it. I'm sure you don't need me to tell you that. Not all of us are so fortunate to have such a relationship with our mothers. I do have one with my dad, though. Not sure what I'd do without it.


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