The End of a Year Without Her

“Another morning comes. It always does. Time always moves at the same rate, only feelings have different speeds. Every day can mark a whole lifetime or a single heartbeat, depending on who you spend it with.” – Fredrik Backman, Beartown

A year ago today I dropped everything around 3PM in the afternoon, grabbed my keys and purse, and with my husband in tow, drove as quickly as we could to Baltimore. Specifically to Franklin Square Hospital where my mother had been taken. It didn’t end as we all hoped. We lost her.

It’s been one year without her. One year without her calling at 2 AM for my birthday. One year without her throwing any summer parties (not that we could really have them anyway). One year without her asking how my skating or hockey is going. One year without her making cookies and candies for Christmas. One year – 365 days – 525,600 minutes – that’s she beens gone. And I still miss her.

“No one ever mentions how much harder everything is once the funeral is over, when everyone else goes back to living their lives and we’re stuck here, wading through years of memories and trapped in the relentless grip of grief.” – Helena Hunting, Meet Cute

It’s taken me so much longer than I thought it would to make peace with the new way of life moving forward. And I’m still not completely ok. I’m better than I was, but I’m not ok. There are still days I wake up and I want to call her, just to hear her voice. There are days where I have dreams that she’s still around and then an unsettling reality hits me. She’s not coming back and nothing I can do or hope or say will change that.

“You see, for me, memories are difficult. Very often they hurt. A curious thing about grief is the way it takes your entire life, all those foundational years that made you who you are, and makes them so painful to look back upon because of the absence there, that suddenly they’re inaccessible. You must invent an entirely new system.” – Casey McQuiston, Red, White, and Royal Blue

While I was cleaning out my phone’s voicemail earlier this year, I found one from my mum from 2018. Somehow I hadn’t deleted it. It wasn’t anything special, just a standard “Call me back when you get this”-type message, and just listening to it hurt. It hurt just like remembering back to all of the fun times I had with her. My therapist says that the hurt I feel is the love that I had for her and that remembering the good times helps to push through. But, it’s so difficult.

I often find myself tearing up just talking about her, it’s not even things about her death, it’s just normal things. Like how she used to spend all her time in the kitchen during parties because as much as she liked throwing parties, she didn’t like all the anxiety of entertaining, or how she always looked for the good in people, and I try to carry on as she would. There’s just so much more she should have been able to give to this world. She was taken too soon.

I’m thankful for all of my friends and family who have dealt with me while I continue to face my new reality. Always checking in on me during difficult times. Trying to keep me distracted when things are rough. They’ve been so patient and loving, and I hope that I haven’t too much of a burden on them.

So, here’s to making it through that first year. It’s supposed to get easier as time goes on, and while I know that the pain won’t disappear entirely, I look forward to the day where it doesn’t hurt quite as much.

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