She would have been 45 today.
To adolescents, maybe 45 seems so far away. It feels like a lifetime. But to the rest, 45 is not even halfway. It’s not even a glimpse of enough time. And she didn’t even make it that far. And I tell myself she would be pulling out little white hairs now and cursing her “old” age as she looked unsatisfyingly into the mirror tracing yet another unwanted wrinkle that she could clearly point out, but that most others would barely even notice. Because as humans we take our age for granted. It’s a reminder that we’re not as young as we used to be. As if that’s a reason to limit ourselves. As if that’s an excuse not to celebrate another year, because we’re not as young as we’d like to be.
But today I celebrate her life. Her life is in each leaf I see blooming as the newly awoken trees stretch their branches for another Spring. Her life is in a stranger’s smile as I pass them by, catching their infectious grin. Her life is in the laughter of children sliding down a slide. Her life is in the voices of friends and family, reminding me of the kind spirited woman she was. Her life is in the rays of sunshine that warm my toes and kiss my skin. Her life is in the beat of my heart as I steadfastly move on, day to day, living a life she only dreamed of for me.
Death is inevitable. It’s something we can’t escape. It’s something we are taught to prepare for and live life to the fullest. But when that life is cut short, something about the nature of this world shifts. We fall down. We collapse. It feels unbearable. It feels impossible. My mother was young. She was healthy, despite the cancer that lived in her blood. And she was taken too soon. That’s something I will never understand. I don’t think I’m suppose to. But from her death, there have come harsh lessons and great rewards. My trials are a never-ending reminder that I’m still alive. Even if she couldn’t make it to forty five.
Sometimes I have days where I feel like I’m falling from Cloud 9. Or that I’m climbing a ladder going nowhere. It almost seems pointless. But then I reminded about the simple joys of life. And I remember the quiet lessons my mother taught me by example.
– my mother was the kind of person who rooted for the underdog. because of her I never put myself above anyone else.
-my mother was able to forgive those who wronged her in her dying days. she showed me a kind of strength i never thought possible. because of her I’ve learned to let go of my grudges.
– my mother had the greatest sense of humor. because of her, I try to bring a little more laughter into this world.
– my mother graduated from college. she may have done it later on in her life, but she did it — and because of her I value my education and the power that comes with it.
– my mother was a nurse. she cared about people, genuinely. and she served others without asking for anything in return. because of her, I know the importance of serving others and cherishing the simple moments in life.
– my mother didn’t play by the rules. we ate out on sundays. we were friends with every kind of person. we talked about pooping and farting. we talked in accents. we watched R rated movies. we ate ice cream cake with our hands (burr). we sang karaoke and didn’t bleep out the swear words. we peed with the door open. we lived life the way we wanted to, not by how everyone else thought we should, how society or our church expected us to, but how we felt was good for us. because of her, I don’t panic about making mistakes. I learn from them and I don’t sweat the small stuff.
– my mother tried to bring her family together. she tried to make others feel included. because of her, I want to surround myself with family and friends who make me feel good, and who can laugh at my jokes, and listen to me on a bad day.
– my mother was a beautiful, strong, hard working, silly, amazing woman. and I will always remember her for the things she did for me.
I am so fortunate for the short time I shared with my mom. She taught me more in 12 years than most learn in a lifetime.
Thank you mom. I love you so much. Happy Birthday.