It’s been two years without you and I can’t still believe you are gone, trapped between my intangible memories and the great beyond. Two years of wishing and hoping you’d come through the door and yell “surprise, I’m here!”, returning the color to my gray toned existence. An eternity of unwritten texts, calls and conversations spread before me. Unspoken “I Love Yous” haunt my dreams.
There’s a part of me that’s still angry. Angry at you, at me, at the world, at cancer…at life’s choices. The “Why you?, Why me?, Why Us?, Why not us?” rhetorical questions push the overthinking into overdrive. Death is inevitable, I get that, but couldn’t it have waited until we were all ready? Or less busy? Or more receptive to change? Couldn’t cancer wait another year or two? It’s almost as she and it knew there was no better moment like the present to exit stage right. 2020 wouldn’t have improved the outcome, anyway.
The timing of it all makes it impossible for me to come to terms with her departure: She hadn’t seen her daughters truly live, truly achieve, not quite find unadulterated happiness and joy. She won’t see grandkids, or live out her fantasy of being in a group home with her friends; old farts reminiscing about the past, the National Guard, and their leisure tours around the world. I can’t claim she didn’t fully live or wasn’t fulfilled because that’s a lie; her existence was full of wonderful adventures and plentiful love to and from her children. Egged on by her friends and family, she had conquered places no woman had ever gone before, pre and during my lifetime.
“Cadet Violet” was a true pioneer, exploring new ground and creating inroads for the women who followed her tracks without realizing her actions and success defied the norm. An altruistic trendsetter.
I sincerely wish missing The Colonel was easier, that the pain somehow was eased by time and distance, instead of picking up velocity. There’s so much more to grieve, to want, to feel nostalgic about yet this state of emotional numbness keeps me in limbo. I can’t move backwards nor forwards; I’m stuck in a reality and can but don’t want to accept. Every small step toward the new normal unravels a truth and shrouds it with mystery. There’s no one left to verify the memorable moments of my lifetime. I write everything down to avoid forfeiting whatever recall is left of my childhood.
Picture frames, documents and objects are all that remain of such a remarkable individual.
My sister echoes and amplifies my sentiments as our grief ebbs and tides in complimenting waves. A card. A gift. An incomplete sentence. The magic of knowing what mom would get us for Christmas or a birthday. There’s nothing more I’d want than to return to my sibling all that she has lost; to be able to love her as she needs to be loved, not just as new me can manage. We’re incomplete, missing a key piece of the puzzle that will never be replaced. A void that grows with each passing day below a suspension bridge that’s at risk of collapsing.
When I finally creep out of bed, the afternoon sun is too bright to ignore. Outside, the crisp winter air reminds me of her obsession with the white Christmases of the Midwest. I can’t wait for the day the pain subsides. For spring to thaw my invernal soul. She’s everywhere – in everything I am and do. In my laughter. In my tears. All over my purple colored gallery walls.
Mom, it’s impossible not to miss you…