Throughout my life thus far, I wished somebody had told me how life would be without my mother. Regardless of how good or bad, nurturing or annoying mothers can get, a life absent of one to love or hate, fight or resent, hug or hide from, still makes a world of difference.
Before 2018, my life was divided into two parts: before my mother passed, and after. Despite enjoying some of the milestones one can achieve in life—graduation, first job, promotion, women’s illness, etc, things are just not quite the same without her. On some random days, like an untimely or irregular period, the tap leaks and my eyes well. The memories of her would infiltrate, finding their way to the main projector for repeat screening; what follows would be an outpour, choking and drowning my heart.
I wished I was told I would be vacillating between various feelings:
of resilience and desire to include her share of life, missed, and burn boldly and brightly;
of joy and gratitude to have shared happy times with her;
of guilt, for moving forward and having lived till this day without her; and
of fear that I may forget how she looked and how she sounded.
I had been afraid the memories of her would fade with new memories made from each day of living. Afraid I was, to live, to make new memories. Worried, that like a computer, my storage would run out and I would be forced to overwrite existing data of her. Turns out our brains do not have this limit.
Each year of aging felt increasingly uncomfortable, especially after I hit my thirties. Birthdays are special but painful as well. I felt trapped, in this weird body, when I look at pictures of her. There were moments when I recognized her but not myself. She has not aged but I have. In another three years’ time, I will be looking at myself in the mirror and be greeted by a reflection who looks older than her. And even till that age, I’m certain there will still be moments I will be crying for her, crying for my mother.
I wished I was told the grief never really ends. This, I have seen in others too, who are in the same predicament. The sorrow remains, even when you grow to become a wife, a mother, a grandmother. That special bond; a spiritual cord binding mothers and their children, how can one get over it easily? It’s normal and it’s okay, there is nothing wrong in feeling sad even after decades or more of losing the one who brought you to this world. We can still grieve and not let it cripple us, nor suffocate and deprive us of living our own lives.
It’s still amazing at times when I reflect and appreciate how far I’ve come, how I’ve managed each day without her. Truth is, I did. Unimaginable as it gets, I’ve come to know the undying spirit in me to live. Almost instinctual. Have you felt a life force within you before? One that strives to go on even when the body or the mind disagrees. That, my dear, is a result of divine blessing, honor it.