A year ago today, we lost my mom to cancer and when they say that cancer is a bitch, that is so true. We knew it was coming, we were warned, but no amount of time can ever prepare you to lose a parent, and for me personally, my mom.
As a teenager, I never really thought about the death of my parents. You kind of have a belief when you’re that young, that they are going to live forever or at least until you’re pretty old. And while I try not to regret any part of my past, the things that I do seem to regret the most, involve my mom and dad.
My childhood sucked, that’s no secret to anyone who really knows me. I don’t think that my parents focused on the raising of the child, I think that we just existed and there were even times, I felt more like an inconvenience. Funny thing is, none of that matters today. As hard as it was growing up in my house, I’d do it all over again if it gave my more time with my parents.
So, I’ve been reflecting, more so about my mom. And I’ve been wondering what her dreams for her kids were. Everyone has them for their children and she never really got around to sharing with us, what her hopes and dreams for us were. But even more, what her hopes and dreams were for herself. And I think that’s what makes me the saddest. I’m not sure if my mom actually wanted to be a mom, and I don’t say that disrespectfully. It’s just my mom had kids at 16, 17, 18, & 20. Nobody plans for that. But that’s not what throws me. The fact is, whether or not she wanted to be a mom doesn’t matter, because she sacrificed whatever her dreams were for her kids and I never even said thank you.
Here and now, I am making it my mission to learn. To learn from her rights and her wrongs, and they may have gotten it wrong more times than they did right, but I now know that they did their best and the right way to honor their legacy is to learn.
- NEVER SETTLE. I believe that my mom did. I think that she lived her life according to others’ plans. She put them first EVERY TIME and always forgot to put her name at the top of the list. I refuse to settle in life. I will see out my dreams and give everything I have to fulfill them.
- I will teach my children that the relationships that they cultivate with one another are some of the most important relationships that they will ever have. And I will also teach them that sometimes siblings argue and don’t see eye to eye. That doesn’t mean you sever ties with them. And if they feel that a relationship with a sibling is on the fray, then that means they work extra hard to mend it and appreciate one another for the things they have in common and the differences that make them unique.
- I will have fun. Life is not meant to be a chore and I will not treat it as such. I will make my children laugh everyday, regardless of how crazy I look doing it.
- I will ALWAYS put my arms around my kids and make sure that they know how much I love them. There will NEVER be a day that goes by, whether they are 7 or 47, that they do not hear those words from me.
- I will try and stop letting people walk all over me. I get this horrible trait from my mother and it is going to be the hardest one to break.
- I will love passionately and without apology. And I will make sure my kids witness it.
- I will teach my kids everything I can about life. From cooking to sex, I will make sure that they learn it from me and not from mistakes that they have made.
- I will stop relying on tomorrow and make every day count with my family. Just because I say “we’ll do it later” doesn’t mean later will be waiting.
I never thought that at the age of 38, both of my parents would be gone.
I never thought that in 1999, when I gave birth to my oldest child, that my mom wouldn’t be here to watch her graduate from high school.
I never thought that my mom wouldn’t be here to see my dream to become a teacher realized.
I never thought that I would have to keep her memory alive for my kids, instead of her being here alive making memories with my kids.
So, here’s the thing. You never know, if you are lucky enough to have your parent(s) still with you, please don’t take it for granted. Love them with everything in you and tell them as often as you can. If there is a divide in your family, fix it. Once they’re gone, they’re gone. You never knows what life has in store for you and how quickly the ones you forget to say “I love you” to, can be taken away.
I miss her everyday, but I know now that she would want for her kids to live the life that she deserved to live while she was here, but too afraid to grab.
“Love is stronger than death even though it can’t stop death from happening, but no matter how hard death tries, it can’t separate people from love. It can’t take away our memories either. In the end, life is stronger than death.” -Anonymous