It was Monday afternoon. The sun was shining and I was wondering why I was off work. As someone who waited tables in a severely understaffed restaurant, I never got days off, but that day, I did. That day, I got an important call, only I didn’t know it was important. It was my Grandmother, and she asked me to call her back. Thinking nothing of it, I went about my day as I would any other day off with nice weather. Driving around aimlessly with my then-boyfriend. Running a few errands. A little this, and a little that, not knowing that soon, my life would be changed forever.
When I finally called my Grandmother back, it only took a few seconds before I dropped my cell phone to the floor, and soon, I followed it.
“Your Mom died this morning”
It felt like a knife to the heart. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t think. This couldn’t be. My mom was dead. Gone. I was never going to see her again. I was only 19.
The next week was a blur. Making phone calls to family members, trying to make funeral arrangements when no one agreed on anything and I felt stressed and pressured so much that I didn’t have much time to be sad. It wasn’t until her funeral that I broke down. I’d selected her favorite song to be played during the service, and I didn’t last more than a few bars. She loved that song. I knew that, but once family and friends started regaling their fondest memories of her, I came to realize that her favorite song was almost the ONLY thing I knew about her. My mom was a REAL person. Not just my mom. How did I never see it?
Her life, to me, had revolved around our family. She was my mom, and what else? She liked to do crafts, but who knows if she actually LIKED them, or if she did them because it was something she picked up during her years as a stay at home mom to fend off boredom and insanity. She thought she could sing well. She was wrong, but she really believed it. She got her hair frosted at the Hair Cuttery one city away because a long-time friend worked there. But…. what else? Who WAS she?
I sit here now, watching my two children play a game together, over 11 years after my mom’s passing wondering- what do my kids know about ME? What about my life outside of their little bubble do they know?
It’s a common misconception that once a woman has children, they become her entire life. Her world as she knew it stops revolving, and begins orbiting her child. Maybe that’s true, at least a little, even if just for a little while- but we are REAL people. We had REAL lives before kids. We still have REAL dreams, wants, and needs, that have nothing to do with them.
My mom, just like me, was a real person. A real person I will never get the opportunity to know.
I know how volatile one’s relationship can be with their mother, I know mine sure was, so I’m not going to sit here and stress the importance of getting to know her- because sometimes that’s simply not an option. I get that.
At the end of the day, if you can’t get to know your mother, or if you don’t want to, or if it’s just impossible- at least understand that she is merely a human, just like you. She has a life, flaws, dreams, hopes, wishes. She had them before you, she had them FOR you, and she had them through you. She made sacrifices, mistakes (lots of them), cried and laughed more times than you can imagine, loved, lost, and all in all, was merely a human. An imperfect human. Not just a mom who is supposed to be the perfect bright shining example of goodness and light- but human. That’s one thing I wish I’d known, and I hope you remember going forward.
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