It's coming up on three years since you passed away. The 14th of May is always going to be a difficult day, but its impact has been changing every year. As the anniversary of the day you died I'm never quite sure how I'm going to feel when I wake up. Sadness, anger, confusion, regret, relief and gratitude have all been on the menu. Strangely, its not the 14th I dread every year. It's today. It's this day when we're supposed to be celebrating and thanking the mothers in our lives and I'm acutely reminded that while I have a mother I love and can hand her a card or call her up on the phone, my children will never have that opportunity again. For the rest of their lives. Forever and ever.
The day you died was a bit surreal in some aspects. We knew it was coming. We'd already had the talk. You'd already said goodbye to the kids, to your friends and family. We woke up together in ICU and there wasn't anything left to say or do. You'd already educated me on our monthly budget and when you paid the bills, gave me the passwords to your email and Facebook, signed the adoption papers for Cori and then drifted back into a Fentanyl induced slumber. All that remained was for me to make the most difficult decision in my life and watch your breathing as long as I could until the life support was switched off and you drifted away from us. It's still a day that conjures so many emotions but most of all a sense of relief, that for you the suffering was over, with the knowledge you were truly at peace with letting go.
But that was the 14th. Days before, on Mother's Day, was the day you were truly lost to us, the day the pain would not stop and you finally had to succumb to the cancer eating away at you. That was the day when the only thing you wanted was your own mother, to make it stop, to hold your hand. You had that comfort on Mother's day when the ambulance took you away and you never returned. That is the day that hurts the most when I think about how you looked, how you writhed in pain and when I realized you were probably going to die.
So today. Mother's Day. All it reminds me of now are the two little people that have been hurt the most by your absence. The two beautiful, smart, loving, smiling faces that will never see their mother again. It's true, all of us are moving past your death in different ways, including your children. I lost my wife and the mother of my children, you were lost as a daughter and a sister and a best friend. Some of those holes can be filled; some are permanent scars. But I can't imagine a bigger void, a more important role lost than yours as a mother to our girls. That can never be completely replaced, not by a grandmother, an aunt, a best friend, or by me. And all this day does is fill me with anger for all the things my children can never have back.
You weren't there for Cori's confirmation. You weren't there for Muffins with Mommy day for Camryn. You won't be there when they graduate high school. You won't be there to talk Cori through her first love, her first heartbreak, or watch her walk down the aisle. You won't be there in the fall when Bean starts Kindergarten and struts up in her brand new school uniform. You won't be there to teach her to tie her shoes or watch her ride a bike without training wheels or laugh at things that come out of her mouth. You aren't here to argue with Cori about her wardrobe and her makeup, or ground Camryn for not picking up her room. And yes, everyone will say you are there in spirit you're watching all the time, but honestly that's not good enough. They need you here for every moment of every day. They needed you to tuck them in, to yell at them for not picking up their messes, to cook dinner, to pick them up from school, to watch funny TV shows together on the couch and play Guitar Hero. The rest of us can get by in our daily lives, perhaps choking up at a certain song on the radio, smiling at an old picture, or laughing at a cherished memory. You won't be here to create any more memories, or to ever make us laugh again, but we'll get by ok. It might be with guilt, anger or sadness, but life does go on. And it goes on for the girls too, but in a much different way than any of us could imagine. And as hard as all of us try to fill it the void is still there and always will be, no matter what.
Cori is becoming a beautiful strong woman, based on the foundation you gave her. Camryn will do the same, even though she truly has very little recollection of you other than what we see in pictures or talk about. They'll be ok, they will grow up just fine with my love and the love of those around her. They'll have positive and constructive role models in their lives, but never the one thing all the other kids have and take for granted. Today, more than any other day, will be the most painful reminder of what is missing from their lives. The 14th will come and go, your headstone will remain an unchanged monument to your memory, but the day you died isn't the day when we should all stand still and remember what you meant to us. Our babies remember it every single day.