10 years ago

Do you know where you were ten years ago this evening? I do.

I was 19 and was home from college. It was my last night there before I had to go back to school. My brother wasn't at home that night...he had to work out of town the next day. It was just me and Mom. I can't remember what we did earlier in the evening but I know when we were about ready for bed she came in my room and we started talking. We just gabbed and gabbed about all sorts of things that I hadn't told her about the previous semester. We talked about friends and relationships and the dorm. We ended up staying up later than we intended to but eventually went to bed. That was the end of my life as I knew it...

The next morning (January 9th) I woke up to banging on the front door. I didn't want to get up. I was home alone and it was early. I didn't have to get up early...so went the life of a college student. But the banging didn't stop and I got up to see who was there. I let in what would be the first of many guests that day. They told me that Mom had been in an accident. Looking back, I don't know why I wasn't terribly worried. Bad things had happened in my life before. Accidents had happened before and it didn't cause three adults to wake me up... So, yeah, eventually I was told that my mother was dead. That, at 19, I was parentless.

I was in my brother's room when they told me. I had been trying to find some sort of contact information for him (in the days before cell phones). When they told me I just wanted to get out of there and go into my own room. I'm not sure why. And on some level I was aware that I was still in pajamas. So I got dressed. I had to call my brother and tell him. I had to talk to my mom's sisters. One of them was also her best friend and was terribly broken up. Another hadn't really gotten along with her very well and suddenly felt guilt. I don't know what was harder--having to deal with her death or having to deal with everyone else's reactions to it, forcing me to be more adult than people who really were adults.

I found out later (probably that same day) that my mother had recently told the ladies in her lunch group that she thought she had finished raising us. That we could be ok on our own. Even all these years later I think that's a ridiculous statement. I don't think you ever finish raising your children. As long as a parent and child exist, they need one another. That doesn't stop at 18. It doesn't stop with death.

It's a sad day and I think it should be. It's the day that marks the beginning of a completely different phase in my life. It meant that every major event in my life, good or bad, would be incomplete because there was one person missing with whom I should be allowed to share it. You know, like graduating or changing jobs or breaking up with someone or having your best friend move to Africa or buying a house. You know, life.

She was a great mom, a great woman. I still want to make a 100 Things list about her. Maybe I'll do that on her birthday; it could be the happier counterpart to this post. In the meantime, since all of you are like me and catch up on blog reading when you get to work in the morning, how about you toast my mom today? Oh, and call yours.

Comments

Bubba's Sis said…
cjh, this brought tears to my eyes! I will toast to your mom! And my mom - I am blessed to have her. Know that your mom is watching you from Heaven and she is so proud of you today!
angelq said…
Tim's parents had a not-the-4th-of-July party and invited all of Jeremy's old friends. They sat around and reminisced and learned about the lives of the old friends. One had even named his son after Jeremy. It was very nice.
Last year, on the anniversary of Laura's passing we went to the beach, flew a kite and ate Mexican food, because she loved all of those things.
You and Matthew should find an activity that she loved to do and celebrate all the things that she left with you. Clearly, she wasn't too far off the mark when she felt she was "done" raising the two of you because you're both wonderful people.
Samantha Jo Campen said…
I'm all eye blinky with a lump in my throat.

That was beautifully written. I *will* toast your mom today. And I will also toast to you.
cheryl said…
I'm glad you give yourself permission to feel sad today. I know what a huge hole you feel in your heart without her in your life. You live your life in celebration of all that she was and all that she did for you.
katielady said…
I have been trying to comment on this for several days now, and for some reason my work computer doesn't like your blog....

That was so sweet and thoughtful. I can not imagine how different my life would be, so thank you for sharing with us. But you should be shamed for making an already super-emotional preggo lady cry! :)
StaceyG said…
Wow, that was a powerful post. Here's to your mom!!
cph said…
now that i'm done blowing snot-bubbles... knowing you is the closest i've come to be able to see how a death of your parents changes your whole life. i cannot imagine the hole your mom's death left. as your friend, on some weird sub-conscious level, i somehow feel that i should be able to fill your life in other ways so that you don't feel the pain and the injustice of her being gone. on a conscious level, i know how silly that is, so, i'll just grieve with you. i really wish i could have met your mom. i know i would have loved her. i love hearing you and M talk about her. a toast to her!
cjh said…
Thanks, peeps...you rock. And I apologize to all the super-emotional preggo ladies out there.

crowd favorites

100 things--thankful

hey, would you like to see the nursery?