I was lucky and got to "have" my mother for 25 years. My mother, however, lost her own mom at the age of 5 or 6 when her mom died from a pulmonary embolism after a car accident. She was only 36 (?) and left behind seven children ranging from infant to early adulthood. One of the sad parts of losing a parent is not being able to verify the exact ages and dates of these events. You just never feel the need to remember them yourself since you always expect them to be around to tell you, but that's not how it works.
My Grandma (never met) and Grandpa.
I know that my mom was obviously very affected by the loss of her mom at such a young age.
My mom with Santa!
In fact, I always remember a book that she kept around the house. It was by Hope Edelman, titled, "Motherless Daughters: The Legacy of Loss." Growing up, I did not give much thought to the whole idea of losing a parent. All I knew was that it was sad and I felt bad for my mom, but besides that, as a child, it wasn't on my radar. I do remember, though, when my Aunt died of cancer and left behind her two daughters; my cousins. My mom gave my cousin a copy of that book.
After my mom's memorial service and the days following, I made sure to grab that book from her shelf.
I certainly wasn't ready to read it or even open it, but I knew it meant a lot to her, so I felt that I needed to keep it...at least for her. For 7 months, it sat on the bottom of my night stand, along with a book of poems that she had given to her father. I like to open book of poems to the random dog-eared pages. I wonder if the little pieces of papers and creased pages were from her or from my grandpa. I like to imagine what they liked about that certain poem...
I was brave enough to open, "Motherless Daughters" the other night before bed. At first, I didn't feel like I was entitled to read it, like I wasn't a "motherless daughter," and I had fears that the book would belittle my own loss since I lost my mother at age 25...and not as a child. But it doesn't. Edelman touches on the age group of young adulthood and just losing a mother at the pivotal time in your life when you're starting out, beginning your own life. Let's just say, I pretty much balled my eyes out the entire time reading it, but it felt good to release. I only got a chapter or two in, but it's a step.
I feel like it might be one of those books that I come back to over and over like my mother did.
I try to think of the positive and not the sad...like how sad it is to know that my own mother flipped through these pages and cried. I read the parts about losing a mother at the age of 5 and think of her. The book is turning yellow and the pages feel thick from age.
I try not to think of how sad it is that I have her autopsy report on my desk. It isn't right.
Sometimes when I drive home from work (I tend to do a lot of pondering at these moments), I am in absolute disbelief that all of my parents (mom, dad, and stepdad) are dead. I keep thinking, "what? I'm not one of those people...I'm not the type of person to have dead parents. That's someone else."
But nope, it's me, too.
Nicole, the motherless daughter.
Some of the worst parts about losing my mom are the days when I'm lounging on the couch and I call her up to ask random questions or pieces of advice. These would range from, "what do you think about online classes?" or "omg, turn on channel __ to see __." She had an opinion on everything, of course. And I always called to ask about cooking. She was a great cook. Now? I could easily ask these questions to anyone that I admire or peruse the internet, but that isn't the point. She was there for me in countless ways even when she wasn't at her best.
There is no one quite like your mom.
I will never stop grieving the loss of my mother. I wonder if people understand that?