April 9th marks the two-year anniversary of my mom’s death.
During the two weeks before she passed, I was living with such anxiety over when her body would leave us. For eight days, she didn’t eat or drink anything, and yet she held on. She remained in a coma-like state with hospice managing her pain.
The morning of April 9th, I came in to see her and had reached a point where I thought she might just live forever in that state. At 12:30 p.m., I put her clauddaugh ring on her frail, almost purple finger. She wore that ring every day since our first trip to Ireland. Eight days earlier, I had taken it off her finger and started wearing it. At 1:00 p.m., her lungs rapidly filled with fluid and three minutes later, she died.
And even after all that waiting and wondering, I remember grabbing her, almost shaking her, and yelling, “Mom,” several times, in disbelief, relief and terror. I was suddenly launched into a new stage of grief, and the reality of her being gone had to sink in. I took the ring, put it back on my finger, and haven’t taken it off since. Glancing at her ring got me through her eulogy, it got me through the hard days from then until now.
I know it’s just a symbol of her, but it means so much to me to hold her close in every way.
Today, I’m less than two months away from giving birth to my first baby. She would’ve been the perfect grandmother. I have so many questions for her about motherhood, but each time I consider what her answers might be, I can imagine exactly what she’d say because we were so deeply connected. I love her, I miss her and I know I always will.
Some people say it doesn’t get easier, it just changes.
I don’t necessarily agree with that. I think, overall, it does get easier and milestones remind us of how hard it once was. Anniversaries remind us to keep living life to the fullest because we are the privileged ones who get to keep living. I feel a responsibility to her memory to move on and grow, not to wallow in misery and blame the Universe.
Whether it’s cancer, the beer truck, or peacefully in our sleep at 103, we’re all going to die.
Today was my special reminder to live.
Author: Megan Ridge Morris
Editor: Emily Bartran
Image: Used with Permission by the Author
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