SERIES: LETTERS I NEVER WROTE
I never thought I would sit down and put words to some of the thoughts that have run around my head for years, but here we go. It has been 27 years since you died. 27. That number seems so large and surreal. I used to live by 11s. I was 11 when I lost you. At 22 I had lived as much of my life without you as I had with you. At 33 I was the age you were when your life was cut short.
Now, at 38, I have stopped counting the years that have gone by. Though I can easily group my childhood into 'with mom' and 'after mom' categories, I don't look at life and see what I have lost. I am so lucky to be where I am, to have experienced what I have. I have been blessed by close friends to confide in, and wonderful 'other mothers' who have helped me navigate the journey into adulthood...and now motherhood.
When I became a mom three years ago I was terrified that I wouldn't know what to do. I longed to be able to just pick up the phone and call my mom for answers to those big and little questions new moms have. But the truth is, we all just figure it out along the way, don't we? My boys are the best things that have ever happened to me and I just wish they could have known you, and you them. What can I tell them about you? I have great memories but they often get jumbled together and I lose sight of details. What I do know is that you were a loving, and fun-loving person. I also know, like all of us, you had your struggles and challenges. It takes a while for someone who has lost a loved one not to idolize that person. You were real, you were human, but I'll never doubt how much you loved me. I hope you know how much I love you. I apologize for ever being a difficult, attention craving only-child.
I wish I could have known you as an adult. It is very hard for me to picture what that could have been. The fact that I am older than you ever were will always be very strange to me. The night I lost you was the defining moment of my life. I truly believe it determined who I have become. This is something I struggle with. I often wonder who I would be today had I not lost the most important person to me so young. I consider myself an open, loving, compassionate person who tries not to stress out about life's little bumps and bruises. Someone who sees the big picture and tries to cherish every precious moment in life. I know how good I have it, how lucky I am to have the people I have in my life, the security of a loving husband and the blessing of healthy, happy children. I can't help but wonder, if this tragic life event had not happened to me, what kind of person would I be? Would I still have my own beautiful family? Would I have ever grown out of my childhood selfish tendencies?
I would give anything to have you back. To be able to tell you face to face how much I love you. To have fought with you as a teenager challenging boundaries. To have confided in you and depended on you as I became a young adult...a wife...a mother. But at the same time it scares me to think that my life would be so different. Better? Worse? Who knows? Just different. Would I have had the same experiences, the same friends? Doubtful. Would there have been other amazing experiences and friends? I'm sure. And I would have had that most important relationship in tact...mother and daughter.
I'm not sure what all of this means, what I hoped to accomplish with this letter. Just a purging of thoughts...a slight toss of my soul out to the universe...a hope that somehow, across time, my mother knows that she is loved and missed by her daughter. Mom, I hope I make you proud. I love you. I miss you, and who we could have been together.