10 Years Ago

A Microwave.

When I think of when I first realized I would never see my mom again, all I remember is a microwave. If you asked, I could describe this microwave exceptionally well. It was in the hotel room we stayed in when my mom was hospitalized once again, and was when it clicked that she probably wasn’t coming home. I wanted to talk to her, but my family figured she was too sick for that (or maybe she did), so all I could see was this gleaming microwave. I have not forgotten it.

The memories that I have of this time are very few and far between. I know that many people’s minds choose to shut out drastic and life changing events. Maybe this is what happened to me. Maybe I was just too young. Maybe I will never know.

I remember my dad picking me up, walking around my grandma’s driveway and telling me that she’s gone and she can’t come back. I remember the service. I remember only one of my friends showing up and giving me a hug, but otherwise sitting alone. I remember not crying at the funeral. I remember the casket going into the ground with the fresh dirt and the white tent nearby. I remember eating cantaloupe at the reception. I remember looking out the window of the guest room at my grandma’s while crying people stood downstairs. I remember understanding all too well what happened. There was no confusion for me.

Not everything was a bad memory though. I remember opening her care packages with her. I remember when my donkey tried to walk inside the house and we put the cowboy hat on it. I remember gardening. I remember one day when she was really sick, she let me do a puppet show for her. I remember her pulling my loose tooth out because I was too scared. I remember pretending to be asleep so she would leave me on the couch and I’d sneak peeks of American Idol or Animal Cops. I remember pulling out her Harry Potter books and touching the pretty covers. I remember her waking up to comfort me after my nightmares.

However, today, the tenth anniversary of my mom’s death, I am more frustrated than anything else. I wish she were here to hear about my overload of homework, to help me say goodbye to my exchange student friends, to share in my reuniting with my childhood bestie, to give advice on my struggle for finding a job, to listen to mine and Brayden’s adventures, to let me go on a happy rant about the guy I like, to give me courage to tell him I like him, to celebrate my successes and to just be here. But she is not coming back and I have grown to understand that.

I am still processing this and I think it will take my whole life to fully comprehend losing my mom. I still get confused on which memories are mine and which are ones people told me. I’ll miss her at my graduation, at my wedding, when I become a mom. My life will never be perfect, but when I think about others’, is anyone’s really perfect?

I have began to open up about what it has been like for me in the hopes that maybe people can understand me and maybe, just maybe, it can help their experience too, if they have one. I have always had a tendency to stuff everything down, pretend I’m okay when maybe I am not, and it’s becoming time for me to let that go. Writing Celebrate Life in My Eyes was a start to opening up but I have a long way to go.

Hopefully I can conquer this day with strength in the future, but for now I will attempt to express my thoughts in words. Thank you to all those that continue to support me.