It’s no surprise that my mom has passed. I posted a lot about it any chance I could, always with an optimistic spin. Photos of her doing the best she could at communicating from her hospital bed. Photos of her beautiful smile that clearly showed how skinny she had gotten on chemo or how swollen she had gotten on steroids. Mentions of proud I was of her for how strong she had been doing despite the circumstances. All of it was true. She did the best she could, she was beautiful (inside and out), and she was strong. But I also meant for every photo and post to serve as a heads up to those who didn’t really know her story about her decline. A literal status update that she wasn’t doing so well. And also a way to trick myself into believing it was all okay. I wanted to be okay.
The reality, of course, is that I was mourning deeply inside from the day she was diagnosed. I still sobbed at her funeral, but a lot less than I expected, probably since I had cried for the 21 months before that. But I am so tired of crying.
I want to be okay, but keep getting caught up in the cry, “It’s not fair. This wasn’t supposed to happen.”
And I finally realized something.
Things happen every second of every day that weren’t “supposed” to happen. We can try with all of our might to plan and control the future. Our hopes and visions of the future may keep us motivated and moving forward, but life tends to get in the way. Deaths of loved ones, unplanned pregnancies, life changing injuries or illnesses, meeting right people at the right time. Some may think that’s an odd combination of bad and good, but really, they’re just types of change. The label you slap on each as “bad” or “good” is subjective.
My mom passed, and that’s bad. It’s unfortunate. It sucks. And it wasn’t supposed to happen, at least not in my grand view of the future. I always thought I’d have kids and she’d be the most awesome grandmother to them. I promised her I’d never put her in a nursing home. That she’d taken such amazing care of me, that I wanted to be able to return the favor and have her move in with me. I held onto this hope and was so excited about it for my 27 years on this earth. Perhaps it kept me moving forward a little, but the fact that she isn’t here anymore to fulfill that hope doesn’t mean I can stop moving forward towards the future. She’s not in my future anymore, but the impact she made on my life will always be with me. And just because she’s not here anymore doesn’t mean my future won’t be wonderful.
I keep forgetting the quote the title of this blog came from: “It’s supposed to hurt. That’s how you know it meant something.” As long as we live, love, and have deep meaningful relationships, one day, we will also hurt and miss the people we loved tremendously, because nothing can last forever. None of us do.
Some people avoid intimate relationships out of the fear of being hurt. I was one of them. I don’t think I trusted anyone enough to let them in and potentially break my heart. Meeting Ray changed that. He has the heart of my grandfather, so I knew I was safe with him. I am safe with him. I am grateful for him for helping me let my guard down and so much more. Regardless, one day, one of us will pass first unless we’re the adorable old couple at the end of “The Notebook” that pass together. One of us will pass first, and the other will have to cope and carry on. One of us will hurt. And that’s a good thing.
I don’t need pain to know that I loved my mom deeply, but it definitely validates just how much she meant to me. She made me and is the reason I am the person I became. She was inspirational to me. My role model long before she became a warrior against glioblastoma.
She’s not here anymore, but I am. I may hurt, but I need to keep going. During her life and especially during her decline, she always said she wanted two things for me: to be happy and to travel. So I’m going to try and do just that, even if she’s not here to see it.
Ray and I are finally going to Paris in October, Mom. I hear it’s beautiful.