I felt like a 5-year old who had somehow separated from her mother at the supermarket after being warned not to stray from her side. Frantically running down each and every aisle, I look up to scan every single face, every head of hair, looking for any resemblance that might be my mom. Panic-stricken, I cry out “Mom!!! Moooommmm!!!”, hoping she’ll appear around the corner.
But she’s not there. She’s disappeared. Gone. I’m left stranded and all alone. Lost amongst all these other moms that aren’t mine. Who’s going to take care of me?
At 34 years old, I felt like that terrified whimpering little 5-year old who only wanted nothing but her mommy.
It’s hard to think that I’ve been mom-less for 1,095 days. I never thought I could miss someone so much. I miss talking to her on Sunday afternoons while she’s cooking one of her delicious meals; the sound of her sucking her teeth when she thought we were being too silly or when she was mad; her lovingly “gentle” slaps across the back of my head; her bright and vibrant colorful outfits and fuschia lipstick.
God, I miss her cooking, especially when I’m sick and all I want is her chicken and rice soup or a piping hot bowl of pho to get my sinus cavities cleared.
I miss absolutely everything about my mom.
She was such a hard worker. She taught me that things don’t come free. You have to work hard to get what you want. This meant she worked all her life. I’m not talking about just holding a single 9-5 job. Growing up, I hardly saw my mom except for on Sundays. She carried two jobs and came home late when we were already sound asleep in bed. She’d be up when we were getting ready for school cooking a meal to put in the fridge so that we would have something to eat when we got home from school and then she’d head over to her first job. When that shift was done, she’d head over to her second job, both in restaurants, and wouldn’t be home until well after 11:30 at night - only to clean up the mess we left for her when she got home.
Vacations were far and few between. They were a treat. Many of them were visits to see family who lived out of town. Those were always fun! When she got close to retirement, she always talked excitedly about not having to work and receiving her first Social Security check. She couldn’t wait! Unfortunately, her first Social Security check came in the mail just 2 months after she passed away.
My dad had built her the backyard of her dreams, complete with a swimming pool-sized koi pond and gazebo. He planted her rose bushes and brightly colored flowers. They would drink their cups of coffee gazing out into their perfect backyard. Sadly, she wasn’t given much time to enjoy it.
It’s maddening. Realizing that my poor mom worked all her life and didn’t really get to reap the benefits taught me many things. March 16, 2014 made me see the world completely different. Now, I’m no longer that lost 5-year old girl. I’m much more enlightened. With a new lense on life, my mom’s death truly taught me that life is just way too damn short. It also made me realize the following:
- You are never promised tomorrow. Do not wait. Carpe diem. Yolo. Whatever you want to call it - live life to the fullest.
- Let go of things you cannot control.
- Find meaningful mantras for personal motivation.
- Be positive.
- Go and experience things. Make memories.
- Spend time with your loved ones. Tell them often how much you love them.
- Hug more. Kiss more. Talk more.
- Travel. Run marathons. Explore.
- Do what you love - Sing out loud. Audition. Dance. Scream. Speak out.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff. Get rid of bullshit. Let go of grudges. Let go of negativity.
- Forgive more. Laugh more. Love more.
- Indulge. Eat cake.
- Be mindful and in the present moment. Meditate.
- Practice gratitude.
- Get rid of toxins in your life.
- Buy the damn necklace. Purse. Shoes.
And it will be.