We are coming up on a year since you went away. Sometimes it feels like it’s been longer and sometimes it feels like you are still here with me.
I am so happy for you. You were in pain for so long, especially at the end. I’m so glad you’re not in any pain anymore. Watching you slowly slip away was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.
I’ve never had to sit and watch someone slowly leave this earth like I did with you. You were always so full of life and passion, but in the end you were in such agony that you were medicated through the last few weeks. After the diagnosis you went quickly. You never wanted to have to die slowly, so I guess we should all be grateful that the suffering didn’t last longer. It was so hard to see you like that. My mom. My rock. My best friend in the world.
Thanks to you I have had a really great life. I didn’t have to deal with the abuse, addictions, and depression that you went through because you chose better for me. I was so lucky to not go through such pain and loss as a young girl. Losing you, though? Sucked. It really, really sucked.
I would give everything I have just to have one more day with you. One more hug. Just one more kiss on the cheek. I still have the fluffy brown jacket that you wore to radiation every day. I remember so vividly you wrapping your arms around me when I helped you in and out of the car. It lives in my closet and sometimes I’ll take it out and wrap up in it trying to pretend it’s you. It’s not quite the same and almost always makes me cry because it still smells like you.
So many times I have picked up my phone to text you the latest gossip, or that I saw a great movie preview that we just have to go see when it comes out. I’ve gone through two phones since you got sick last January and it kills me that I don’t even have you in my contacts anymore.
Sometimes your name pops up when I’m typing on Facebook, suggesting I tag you in a status. I see your profile picture, of my baby at three or four months old, and I know you are never going to update it.
When I found out I was pregnant, you were there by my side as I saw that plus sign show up. You took all my monthly progress pictures, you painted my big pregnant belly like a pumpkin and you went to the hospital with me when my water broke (after stopping at McDonalds of course!) You were so excited about Leopold. We hung out almost every day, whether it was walking, crafting, shopping, or just sitting on the couch together. You were going to keep Leopold when I went back to work and you bought everything you would need and plenty you wouldn’t. You had a swing, a bouncer, bottle warmer, toys, even a car seat. You were already an awesome grandma to two other great kids, and I was so excited to see you as Leopold’s grandma as well.
You always told me how excited you were to babysit, and eventually take him to the zoo, or the museum, or just to Chick-Fil-A. I almost felt like he was never even going to be at my house! My grandma passed away when I was 3 years old, so I looked forward to your relationship with Leopold too. I knew you two would have such a special relationship.
But then you got sick. You couldn’t hold him anymore because you were too weak. The tumor was too close to where he rested on your lap, and it hurt you to move. But boy did he love you. He smiled every time he saw you, and to this day he will smile at your picture and say ‘grandma!’. The love you had for Leopold was so strong that I know he still feels it somehow. And mom, he always will. I will make sure he knows how much you loved him, I promise.
When you were in your hospital bed I remember you saying with a smile ‘I might get to hold your next baby before you do’ and I like to believe that is exactly what you are doing.
I’m so sorry that I didn’t cry more when you were sick and still with us. I hope you didn’t think I didn’t care. I think I was in shock for a good 6 months after I found out the diagnosis. Thank God for Angela, I don’t know how you got so lucky to get her for a daughter too, but I’m glad you did because I wouldn’t make it without her some days. Just knowing I still have someone close by that loves me just about as much as you did is comforting. I know that I’ll never be loved again like you loved me. And that is so hard for me to deal with, but I’m taking it a day at a time.
I cry all the time now. It caught up with me and all the tears I held back when I sat with you in the last few weeks will come without warning. Especially when I get my feelings hurt or am upset and I can’t call you to talk about it.
I get lonely a lot and I know it’s because you were such a big part of my life and now there is this void that I will never be able to fill. I struggle sometimes when I read to Leopold before bed. Especially the books you used to read to me or ones you wrote him notes in. I haven’t even tried to go near ‘I’ll Love You Forever’. I think someone else will have to read him that one because I’ll be a blubbering mess.
I’m sure you have heard but dad’s getting married next month. I know, right? It seems like it all happened so fast. This has been so hard for me in so many ways but I know that if you could have picked someone out for dad yourself, it would have been someone like Kathleen. I wish you could have met her somehow so you would know that daddy is taken care of. I know you were so worried about him. He is in good hands, I promise. He is moving across the country though, and I’m sad about that. Now I’m essentially losing both parents in the span of a year. Both parents who I used to see daily and talk to about everything. Both of Leopold’s amazing grandparents who loved to hang out with him.
I know it’s ugly of me but I can’t help but feel jealous of James. My family is all gone and suddenly his is all here. It should be great and make me happy but I’m just jealous. It’s not fair. And with his brother here he is spending most of his free time with him or talking to him and a lot of days it feels like it’s just me and Leopold. It doesn’t help the loneliness, that’s for sure. So it would be really great if I could just come hang out with you. But I can’t.
I wish you were here. Here to say ‘I told you so’ when I do mom things that are just like you used to do. To walk the zoo with me and meet my new friends. I wish I could call to vent to you. I wish you were here to tell me I’m pretty or talented when I need a confidence boost. Most of all I wish you were here to see how absolutely awesome your grandson is. Leopold is the coolest kid I’ve ever known. Sure, I am biased but I know you would be too. I’ll never get to hear him tell me he wants to go to grandmas because it’s more fun over there, or how much fun he had out at the movies/zoo/park with grandma. The best I can do for him is try to be half the mom you were. And those are some pretty big shoes to fill.
I love you mama. I miss you every day.
Your baby girl forever and ever,
I’ll love you forever,
I’ll like you for always
As long as I’m living
My mama you’ll be.