on sleepless roads, the sleepless go

“And if you were with me tonight, I’d sing to you just one more time — a song for a heart so big, God wouldn’t let it live.”

 It’s hard for me to talk about.  It’s difficult for me to put words to my feelings.  I often find myself speechless because I literally can’t think of the words to describe precisely how I feel.

I lost my mom when I was 19.  Though I suppose “lost” isn’t the correct word, either.  “Lost” implies that I misplaced my mom — that I can easily locate her with just a few moments of thought.  But that isn’t really the case.

Make no mistake — I know precisely where my mom is.  She isn’t misplaced or missing.  But she isn’t here — and I think that is what makes it so hard to describe the feelings I have.

My mom lost her battle to breast cancer when I was 19.  That is the best way for me to articulate it.  I can’t say she died.  I refuse to acknowledge that she stopped living.  I know she’s alive and well today in Heaven, walking the streets of gold and enjoying the glorious views.

That still doesn’t make it any easier.  It doesn’t magically make it okay for me to talk about.  I can’t discuss with anyone the pain I feel about not having her in my life — not even with the people who share my pain, like my grandparents and cousins.  It’s not for lack of trying — because, believe me, I want to talk about it; I just can’t.  I can’t put into words the pain — the utter agony – I feel about not having my mother in my life.

Nonetheless, I have it.  And nonetheless, I need to put these words on paper.  I need to get it out.  I need to share, for lack of a better word.

Because it isn’t fair to not talk about her just because I’m hurting.  It isn’t fair to keep her hidden.  She was an amazing person.  She could light up the room with her laughter — and that isn’t an exaggeration.  My mom was the kind of person that everybody wanted to be around.  She had an infectious personality — something that you could tell just by meeting her once.

My mom was also a caretaker.  She wasn’t a nurse or a doctor, but she immediately cared for every person she met.  She was who my cousins went to when they needed advice — she was who I went to, though I suppose that’s to be expected.  I don’t know.  I hear so many girls complain about their mothers “interfering,” but I both welcomed and valued my mom’s input; and it hurts so much to not have her here when I have a problem and need advice.

I recently re-discovered the song “No Surrender” by Bruce Springsteen, and I have to say… it’s exactly how I feel about my mom sometimes.  It was the two of us against the world.  We were a dream team, so to speak.  Now… now it kind of feels like I’m facing the world alone; like I no longer have my cheerleader — my biggest fan.

I can’t give up — not at this point.  I know what my mom would say if I gave up: “I didn’t raise you to be a quitter.  Dry your eyes.  Get back out there.”

It’s not easy.  Everyday I wake up and have to remind myself that my mom isn’t around.  It’s an effort to get out of bed on most days.  It’s so hard to live in a world where my mom doesn’t.

I noted at the beginning of this piece that it was hard to articulate my feelings.  That’s still true.  I think that’s part of the impact of her being gone.  My mom would get it.  She’d know what to say.  She’d know how I feel — and I absolutely think she still does.

I guess what I’m trying to say is this: I may appear okay.  I may come off as put together and fine-just-fine.  But I’m not.  I’m not sure I’ll ever be.  The loss of my mom is, hands down, the biggest loss I’ve ever suffered.  And there isn’t really a book I can read on how to get back to being normal — I’m not sure I ever will be.

I’m not okay.  I’m still stuck in that hospital room, saying good-bye.  And this time of year it seems to amplify itself.  I feel that pain ten times over during Breast Cancer Awareness month; at Christmas time; at Thanksgiving.  I’ll survive – I’m sure I’ll survive, but I’ll also carry this pain around forever.

And I’ll have to deal with it in my own way, in my own time — at my own pace.  Though I can’t say for certain it will ever get better, I guess I can say it will get easier to deal with.  I hope.

I miss you, mom.  I wish you were still here.  I wish you could hold me on days when I miss you so much it hurts.  There’s an empty space in my life — a void that will never be filled.  I miss talking to you.  I miss calling you at night when I get off from work (or hearing from you when you leave work in the evenings).  I sometimes think I’ll see you sitting on the porch when I get home, but you’re never there.

I’ll see you again one day.  I’m sure of it.  It’s not nearly soon enough for my liking, but in this in-between time I’ll just have to deal with it as best as I can.

Thank you for looking over me; for giving MomMom and me the strength we need to move forward.  I love you.  I miss you.  Keep watching over me.

“On sleepless roads, the sleepless go; may angels lead you in.”