October 6th marked the 33nd anniversary of the day my mom saw the culmination of 9 months of waiting and hoping and sore feet and food cravings. Funny how I never thought of it like that until just now.
I’ve spent my whole life celebrating my birthday with cake and presents, and hopeful anticipation about which friends will remember, sing to me, or send me a card. I never thought about what a special day that must have been for mom, a day to celebrate a tangible expression of the love she and my dad shared. A day to look back on as the day her little family became complete. Why didn’t I give her a card on that day? Why didn’t I spend the day marveling at the amazing family she created, and the endless love and patience she continued to provide for each of us? Why couldn’t I have sensed how much that would have filled her heart with the indescribable emotion that we both experienced when she and I connected in that way that only we did? And why, again, am I thinking of these things 3 years and 8 months too late to tell her, to thank her, to make that card?
I take a good deal of comfort in knowing that I always had very open communication with mom, and that there was no doubt in her mind how much I loved, respected, adored, and trusted her. But there are specific words I never said, particular conversations that just didn’t happen. Because they couldn’t. Because we weren’t there yet. Because the funny things and tragic things and interesting things that have happened since she left just hadn’t happened yet. I miss the experience of sharing these things with her.
I am overwhelmed when I think of all the things I will never get to share with Mom. Surrounded by everyone I loved, I could still sense the empty space she would have filled on my wedding day. I desperately want to show her the hundreds of pictures I have taken of our beagle, Belle. She would have been so proud of the work that I am now doing with Comfort Zone, and would have been so excited to tell families about us. She would have been thrilled to see how beautifully her irises and tulips burst into bloom at my house the past three springtimes. There’s just so many things she is missing, and that I am missing her for.
I called my dad yesterday, and we shared some laughter. My parents, true hippies, had decided I should be born at home. This was the late seventies, and it was difficult for them to find a midwife. My dad gladly stepped into the role, which he has always jokingly referred to as “the catcher.” So I wished my dad a Happy Catcher’s Day, and thanked him for all of the countless times he has been there to catch me since. He welcomed me into the world, and I am beyond grateful to still have him here with me. Knowing there are things I will never have a chance to say to Mom has somehow made me more aware of all the things I want to say to Dad. I guess that’s another little gift you get with the experience of grief.
I am so fortunate that I had such a wonderful relationship with my mom. I am so grateful to have not left things unsaid. But I am human, and I am selfish, and I continually mourn for all the little things that I really just want to share with Mom.