My MOM; the word ‘mom’ brings so much to my heart and mind…mom ~ I love being a mom and I had such an amazing example of what a mom truly should be in my mommy. Only my MOM passed away so suddenly without any preparation and the life I knew was over in the blink of an eye. Life brings us such joy and happiness but it also brings pain. My mom was and still is an amazing part of who I am today. I wrote this tribute to my mom a year ago…I never let anyone read it. This is full of raw emotions and shows you what I went thru during the time of losing my mom. I still miss her so much; and I still cry over her not being here. SIX years has gone by but yet it isn’t easier; it is harder…it is harder to imagine her; harder to smell her scent; harder to ‘hear’ her laughter; harder to feel her touch; harder to remember the taste of her cooking; in a way the memories of her seem ‘foggy’ as time goes on…the more time that goes by the further away she feels from me. That day I lost her and the days that followed were my hardest days of my life. In a way it molded me into the person I am today. Here is a glimpse into my ‘soul’ ~ as I wrote this last year when my mom was gone five years…and yet here we are again another year later….
Five years ago, on August 30, 2009, I drifted off to sleep, without having a care in the world and my boys tucked safely in their beds for the night. I remember the stillness of that night and how I was excited over my baby boy sleeping so much better at night. Little did I know that I would wake up a few hours later to a terrible phone call about my mom and how she passed away during the night in her sleep. She was not sick, she was not terminally ill, she was perfectly healthy making plans with me earlier that day for the upcoming Labor Day weekend. There were no warning signs or any time for an actual ‘goodbye’ except the quick “I love you bye mom talk to you tomorrow” that I uttered just a few hours earlier. She was just here on the phone with me earlier that day making plans to go to a local carnival and then overnight gone forever from me…like a flash of lighting across the sky, she was gone forever from this world leaving me at the age of 31 motherless. It truly was, and in ways still is, a dagger to my soul; my heart forever missing that part that held my MOM. I can recall not being able to breathe and in the state of disbelief as I heard my sister, Jessica, on the other end of the phone telling me something terrible has happened to our MOM. Jessica had a call from our dad saying something terrible had happened to our MOM. Our MOM?!? I remember I kept on repeating it as if I thought I must be hearing something wrong. I just spoke to her a few hours earlier and she was fine. I remember thinking this must be a mistake or I must not really be awake. It must be a dream…only it was my worst reality ever.
I was in complete denial…not me was the phrase I kept repeating over and over again in my head. How can this happen to me?!? She was not sick and she just had a physical. She was not on any medication, this MUST BE WRONG!!!
I remember racing around my house trying to get everything ready for my kids that they will need in the few hours when they woke up because I had to leave at that moment. I had to go and see my MOM and see that this was real. Thankfully my mother-in-law came over and stayed with the kids. I remember sitting in the rocking chair holding my 7 month old crying and just repeating over and over again “This cannot be true. I cannot lose my MOM!!!” as I waited for my mother-in-law to arrive.
As I was sobbing, my husband, Dave, drove me over to my parents’ house as we have done a million times before. When we turned down her street, the ambulance passed by us without their lights on and they were not in a rush at all. I stared at them outside the window and tears poured down my face. I turned to Dave and said, “It is true, she must be gone. They did not even seem like they were working on her. The light was off in the back of the ambulance. I cannot do this. I CANNOT DO THIS!!!!!” I screamed that ending over and over again. As Dave pulled up to the house, I jumped out of the car and raced up the front steps to the house. I ran inside and this gut retching depressive mood smacked me in the face as I pushed open that front door. My dad stood there sobbing to my brother and my sister ran over to me. She broke down in my arms and I pushed her off my shoulder. I remember saying, “Jess it cannot be true. Not MOM!!!!!” I repeated that over and over again as I collapsed on the floor. I sobbed and sat there in such disbelief that my MOM could be gone. The police officers just stared at us not knowing what to say. I felt like the walls were closing in on me and I was trapped inside of a nightmare.
My MOM was still in her bed just as she was when she died about 45 minutes earlier. They did not take her out in the ambulance; instead she was left there deceased in her bed. I could not bring myself to go inside that bedroom and see her lying there lifeless. Instead, I cried at the door of the bedroom begging God to please let this not happen. I remember spinning around the room asking why there was no EMT helping her, why did they leave? I kept asking over and over again but no one answered me. There she was just a door away from me and I never had the strength to walk through that door and say goodbye. I could not see her like that completely lifeless and cold. I wanted to remember her full of life and warm so instead I collapsed on the floor not able to breathe as I realized she was truly gone forever. I remember pounding on that door and then the floor as I begged and begged God to bring her back because I was not ready.
I would never go to that carnival with her a few days later as we had planned and honestly I haven’t been to the carnival since this day. Instead, I had to plan her funeral with my brother and sisters. I remember sitting at the funeral home and staring at the funeral director as he asked a ton of questions. I recall looking at him and wondering “Why am I doing this? Why is she not here?” My mom was once again behind a curtain and all I had to do was push the curtain aside and go down to her to say my final goodbye. I sat there in the chair and I made the decision to once again not go and say a final goodbye. I rationalized it in my head that I could not see her that way so lifeless. The MOM I loved was so full of life and I could not have that image be the last image I would ever have of my MOM. Instead I sat in that chair as my siblings said their final goodbye. I cried my eyes out as I stared at the walls of this small little room and I felt as if the room was caving in on me. Caving in on my soul as I once again realized my MOM had passed away.
Later that day as I was driving home, I started to sing a song that my MOM loved. I then made the decision to sing this song at her funeral only I have never sang in front of other people before and I did not know how I was going to be able to sing at my hero’s funeral service. I sang the song “You Raise Me Up” by Josh Groban. I sang over his singing instead of using just the music because I was so worried I would break down up on stage and not be able to sing. I practiced that song over and over again in the days leading up to her service. I am by no means a singer but that day I just felt like I had to do it. She always encouraged me to sing in front of people and I just was too embarrassed…but the day of her funeral I gave her that wish she had in her heart. I just wish I did it sooner when she could sit down and enjoy hearing me sing. It wasn’t easy at all ~ but I did it. There is a video of me from that day below and we filmed my mom’s celebration just for family who were unable to make the event or for our kids if they ever want to watch it in the future. I haven’t watched it yet until just now to see if I should post the video of my song. Tears still pour down my face as I remember how I felt that day just trying to picture how I will continue every day after that without HER. That day of her funeral we celebrated my MOM’s life and I opened up the service with singing that song. I closed my eyes and pictured my MOM holding my hand while I sang my heart out. Those lyrics are so true in my case. My MOM truly was my hero and I wish I would have told her that more often.
That day of celebration was a day full of mixed emotions. I could not believe that I had to say goodbye to her and that she was truly gone forever from my life and yet I remember believing that I had to stand up and be so strong for all of her loved ones and friends. So many of her friends collapsed in my arms that day sobbing over losing her and what she meant to them specifically. I was holding them up and in my head all I kept thinking was, “This was my MOM. Who will be strong for me? When am I allowed to break? She was my greatest friend in the world, who will hold me up and let me collapse in their arms?” That was so hard to do that day of her funeral service.
I did finally collapse into the arms of my husband. He held me up and was my rock during this impossible time. I cried so often in the days after her passing and I still cry today. I remember hiding out in the shower just so I could cry and my little boys not get scared over seeing their mommy crying. I remember asking God over and over again why my MOM had to leave me. I held onto my belief that I will see her again. She is gone from this world but she is up in heaven so I will see her again. I still hold onto that today. As my boys get older and I see how much more she missed, I often turn up to the sky and talk to her. Sometimes I will just smile as I look up in the sky and remember her and all that she is in my life.
I also visit her grave and ‘talk’ to her…here is a post I wrote in the summer of 2013 “I am completely claiming that rainbow as my gift from heaven tonight ~ I just had to go to my mom’s grave…as I sat on that wet grass crying my eyes out just missing my mom so very much, the sky opens up and lets out a huge rain shower all over me. I still sat there crying and when I opened my eyes there was the most gorgeous rainbow I have ever seen in my life…I know it was meant for me to see at that time…I miss my mom so much but once I saw that rainbow I had such a peace come over me…so yes that was my little gift from heaven 🙂 ♥ ♥ ♥”
My MOM was a treasure and my gift from heaven. I have so many memories of my life with her as my mom. Here are some of my fondest ones: coming home from school and her waiting in the kitchen with a snack wanting to see me and talk about my day. Seeing her every day right after school made me even as a little girl want to be that ‘type’ of MOM for my kids. I came home from school one day begging her to coach my absolutely horrible softball team in 7th grade. We never won a game the year before and no one wanted to coach us because we were awful. My MOM never played softball before but she said yes just so we could play that year. Her two rules were that we all must wear pants and play where we wanted to play on the field. We were undefeated that year and she was so proud of her ‘coaching’ style. I love that picture of her standing there with her list coaching us. I also write the word ‘mom’ as ‘MOM’ because that is how she signed her name on any card to us…all in caps; never like Mom or mom but each letter was a capital. And honestly that is what she was to me…MOM. Not just a ‘mom’ but my MOM. So funny how something so small that she would do every day would be something etched into my mind forever.
She was always at every single one of my soccer, basketball or softball games no matter the weather or no matter the location. She made me take tennis lessons when I was 7 years old just because “What if you are the next big thing Shannon, what if you have this talent that has yet to be discovered?” but I was completely awful and would hit the tennis ball over the very high fence. I guess I was used to playing softball. I remember how I told her how much I wanted a Pound Puppy stuffed animal and she went out and bought it for me. I came home from school and found it lying on my bed waiting for me. I remember running and hugging her. The excitement in her eyes at seeing me so happy was truly amazing. She taught me how to crochet a blanket and I remember getting all mixed up over the counting that she would stop over just to help me out.
I also have some very funny memories of my MOM. She would hear a certain word and it would just make her giggle and she would not stop giggling. We would all just sit around and laugh at the sound of her giggling. She also told me that she should never drive on a street with a four way stop because someone would always beep at her and give her the finger. She always had a dream of being Gloria’s friend on The Young and the Restless. She had an entire role in her mind about who she could be and what role she could play on that show. It was so funny and how I wished that would have happened for her.
My MOM was always there for me and I was fortunate enough to have thirty-one years with her. I do wish I had more years with her as my MOM making more memories. She taught me how to be a MOM to my boys. I live every day to the fullest and I truly understand the statement that we never know how long we have here on Earth. Living through the heartache of losing my MOM so suddenly that one day five years ago, makes me want to live each day so differently. I cherish every minute with my family and I adore my little boys. I want to live a legacy that will make my husband and boys proud of me when it is time for me to join her in heaven. When you love someone so completely and fully, you never think of the ‘ending’ and how one day that person will no longer be physically next to you. Death happens every day all around us.
What I really miss the most about my MOM is the sound of her voice when she spoke or sang, her laughter, her scent, the way her hands felt when I would hold them, her hugs, how she never got mad or raised her voice, I just simply miss her being my MOM. I always thought my MOM was such an amazing mother and I could not wait to be a MOM just like her and then I saw her as a Grammy. Her grandkids were her life. Every single day she would be around or call us to check on them. She was just always here for us. I miss that. I miss my MOM for me but I miss the Grammy she was and would have always been for my kids and my nieces and nephews. The day she passed my boys also lost something so precious in their lives.
Yes, I am so thankful for the years we spent together making memories and just being not only mother and daughter but great friends. I really wish I had one more day with her. One more day of laughter, hearing her voice, smiles, hugs, I love yous being said, seeing her number on my phone…one more day of her being the MOM she always was for me. I still have her cell number in my phone; it doesn’t work of course and someone else has that number but to this day I can’t delete it…I just can’t let go of that part of my heart. In a way that is so crazy because I can’t call it; in a way it takes my breath away when I look at my contacts and see her name…but at the same time it brings me such peace. It is a way I still feel connected; but yet I am so disconnected from her today.
Five years have come and gone by so fast. My youngest son was only 7 months old when she passed away so suddenly that fateful day on August 31, 2009 and today he is 5 ½ years old. He has grown up so much in that time span and mostly he has done it without his Grammy. Grammy is spoken of often in our house and the boys love to have memories said about their Grammy. They send her balloons attached with notes and pictures up to heaven addressed to her. In their mind, she gets those notes and pictures but as an adult I know the reality. The reality is that she is gone, never will walk this Earth again and be my MOM. Be sure to hug the ones you love; say I love you often and remember you never know when it is your last day here on Earth. Live each day to the fullest and make memories with the ones you love. Memories are tiny capsules etched in our brains and last forever. Memories are what I hold onto when I miss her so desperately. Memories bring me laughter and tears as I remember my MOM and how much I wish I could be just like her one day. My MOM was the most wonderful blessing I have been given. It would be an honor to me to be just half of the woman she was and it would be amazing for my family.
Just as I wrote this one year ago and here it is another year later, my heart still feels the same. I will forever miss her. I love you MOM; forever and always.