Still missing

I had another one of those brief, flitting moments again… the thought, “I ought to call Mom” sparking in the synapses of my brain.

And then, the heavy thunk of disappointment. Because I can’t.

However quick that response comes, it’s never fast enough to keep me from thinking about her in the first place. Because every time I have a moment of longing, I then have to feel that same burst of sadness.

Yes, I’m sad. Still, over three years later. But today I realized it’s not just sadness—I think it’s actually loneliness.

Every relationship is a carefully orchestrated dynamic, a balance or blend of two different personalities. I like to think I’m the same person all the time, and I try—but the me I am with my husband, Tim, is a different person than the me I am with my book club or my friend Lisa or my group of writer friends. I’m a mom to three kids, but in each relationship, the dynamic is a little different—because I’m influenced by each of my children, who in turn are all different from each other.

I will only ever be the person I was with Mom—when I’m with Mom. Only she could satisfy that particular loneliness. I can come close when I talk to my sister or my dad, but it’s not the same. I will never have that particular relationship—its good aspects and its negative ones—again.

As she grappled with the fact that her time was growing short, Mom worried she would be forgotten. Even then, I knew the answer.

But now I’m looking at it from farther down that road. And I can tell you this. I don’t cry every day anymore. Once in a while I can talk about her without tears. But not always. And I can now recall again the ways in which she drove me crazy (as any good mother will do). She wasn’t perfect.

But those moments of disappointment keep coming, when I have to remember, again and again and again and again and again, that she isn’t here. That I can’t call her. That I can’t ask her questions or talk to her, and that she’s not waiting somewhere to hear from me.

But is she forgotten? Will she ever be? Emotions change. Grief lifts, ever so slightly, and changes over time. But the answer to that question? It’s simple—and yet profoundly, abundantly true.

No, Mom. You will not ever be forgotten. I will not stop missing you. I didn’t always love the person I was with/for you. I was moody and temperamental. I had a short fuse and thought you were too nosy, too bossy. But I also know you brought out things in me no one else does. That you appreciated parts of me some other people don’t even know exist.

So of course I miss you, Mom. But you know what else? I realized something new today: That I miss me—the me I was with you—too.

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