I Miss You, Mom

Happy Days with my Mother, Olive

Happy Days with my Mother, Olive

I originally wrote this tribute in 1996, the year after my mother died at the age of 64 from cancer. Many years have passed but the essence of its message hasn’t changed, and while my grief has lessened, the loss of my mother has left a little part of my heart forever broken.

I Miss You, Mom…

I miss you when…

…I can’t ask you how you kept living when your mother died. Somehow I didn’t realize how tragic losing your mother was. Now no one else realizes how tragic losing my mother was. I know better now.

I miss you when…

…I want to tell you that I know better. I want to ask your forgiveness for taking you and your love for granted. You loved me and mothered me so unconditionally. Did I ever tell you that you were my very, very best friend?

I miss you when…

…I see a woman about your age and I have the irresistible urge to hug her. Especially if she’s standing at a bus stop, or carrying heavy shopping bags, or out alone at night. You worked two jobs for many years to help care for us. Sometimes you didn’t get home from work until one in the morning and you had to be at your other job by seven. You took the bus everywhere since you didn’t know how to drive (it wouldn’t have mattered, since we couldn’t afford to own a car anyway.) It’s hard to drive past a bus stop and not stop. I’m thankful to the kind people who offered you a ride home now and again.

I miss you when…

…The lilac bushes in the front garden burst anew with lavender blossoms each spring. You planted those bushes as a gift when I bought my first home. Every time I smelled their delicate aroma, I remembered your sweetness. I’ve moved on, the house was sold, but every time I pass a lilac bush on the street, I pause to smell their fragrant blooms.

I miss you when…

…I feel like I’m blundering my way through motherhood. I desperately need your advice and encouraging words. Everyone has their own idea of raising children. That’s fine. I don’t want their advice. I want yours.

I miss you when…

…I see or read something funny, especially if my girls did something hilarious. We used to have such great times together, laughing until we had tears rolling down our cheeks, barely able to catch our breath. It’s been hard finding someone to laugh with.

I miss you when…

…I visited Newfoundland and I realized you had lived in a different time and place. What were you like when you were a little girl? How I long to hear you tell me a story of growing up in the little town of Musgrave Harbour. From icebergs and boats, to fish and wintry weather, from schooldays to…anything. I felt so connected to you there amongst the partridge berries and sea spray.

Musgrave Harbour, Newfoundland

Musgrave Harbour, Newfoundland

I miss you when…

…I try to trace our family tree and there is no one to ask who your grandparents were. Your entire family is gone now. The richness of the generations before you, the generations that helped shape your traditions and values are lost. It didn’t seem to matter when you were alive, who you came from, or what part of Ireland your ancestors called home. Somehow, it matters now.

I miss you when…

…I look into the mirror and you look back.  I hear you in my voice, in the words I speak, in my mannerisms, in my hands. And I see you in my girls – your twinkle in their eyes, your upside-down smile, and the essence of your soul passed from you to me to them.

I miss you when…

…I look at my littlest one and know that she’ll never know her ‘Mama’. You only lived to hold her a couple of times. Her grandmother will only be a name, a picture and a few treasured stories. We named her after you.

I miss you when…

…The girls reach a milestone, like a piano or ballet recital or a school graduation. I can’t share these with you. I know you’d make a fuss over them. All of my moments of joy are mingled now with sadness and loss.

Emily Olive Hope Meets her Mama

Emily Olive Hope Meets her Mama

I miss you when…

…I reach a milestone in my life. I long for your support and pride. I pursued my dreams, just like we talked about before you died. But not being able to share my successes with you leaves me feeling empty, incomplete.

I miss you when…

…I drive by the old apartment that you called home the last fourteen years of your life. I remember the pictures of your children and grandchildren proudly hanging on your humble walls, and those wonderful Newfoundland meals of Jig’s dinner, fishcakes, scrunhins, and Grandmother’s raisin buns. I treasure Dad’s homemade furniture and remember your soft voice permeating the air. All I have now is old photos, sweet memories, and a quiet graveside.

I miss you when…

 the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.

the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.

…I see anything to do with cancer, whether it’s a campaign poster, or a palliative care ward, or an article in a magazine. I cringe when anyone I know is going for ‘tests’. I’m angry that they couldn’t find a cure for you, Mom. They’ve made great strides in treating your cancer, but no cure. People are still dying.

I miss you when…

…I’m having a bad day. You took the news of my diagnosis of a lifelong chronic illness harder than I did. You were there for me during those early years, helping me any way you could. Even though you worked two jobs, you gave me every free minute, helping with supper, or laundry, or taking care of the girls. When you were dying, you asked everyone that came to visit you, to please remember to take care of me. You never thought of yourself and your own immediate needs.

I miss you, Mom. I feel as if I’m still your little girl that needs to curl up beside you and get a hug and who eagerly wants to give one in return. I hold onto my children knowing how precious life is.

Someday we will meet again, in a place where there isn’t any cancer or disease, where there isn’t any grief or sadness, where there is only pure joy.

Until then, I cling to the One Who holds you in the palm of His hand. I remind myself that He holds me, too.

I love you, Mom.

2 comments for “I Miss You, Mom

  1. Christene
    November 25, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    You so honor Your Mother with Your beautiful thoughts and You capture the essence of life and what is important in a loving and healthy life cycle between Mothers and Daughters..Thank You for sharing Yourself.

    • November 28, 2013 at 11:10 pm

      Thanks so much for your kind words, Christene.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *