I look at pictures of me before I lost my mom, and I want to warn that woman.
I want to scream and tell her that the innocence in her eyes and the safety in her heart will suddenly be taken as stage four lung cancer takes her mother.
Her grounded feet and her anchored mind will become floating and unmoored as her entire world begins to spin upside down and out of control.
The cruel irony of watching your mother lose her ability to breathe is that you also lose your ability to comfortably take in air. How can you breathe freely and easily when your most important person is going to die?
I want to warn that woman to start building up her toolbox of coping strategies, to start lifting weights of inner strength, to prepare, to begin memorizing every single detail of her mother’s eyes, her laugh, her smell.
I want to warn the woman in the pictures to just hold her mom in the greatest of hugs and savor that feeling of being completely surrounded in comfort.
I look at pictures of me before I lost my mom and see someone who trusts the universe and doesn’t see the unexpected. I wonder what the woman in the picture would think if she looked at me now. Without my mom. In grief. Lingering grief into three years.
And still going forward, hearing my giggle again, taking deep breaths on a long run, holding my children the way she held me, hearing her voice in my head, having brief moments where the world seems safe again.
I hold onto the quote, “Broken girls become warriors,” and start to imagine my sharp edges that remain without my mother as my armor to carry forward.
I lost myself when I lost my mother.
There can still be a finding of who I can be after.
I go forward for her.