Tomorrow is a big day for me.
I don’t mean in the sense that something exciting is happening, or I’ve got a bunch of big plans. More in the way of it’s a calendar date that I never forget and always reflect on.
It was August 3, 1970 when the world changed for me. And for the last 48 years, it’s August 3rd that I still feel the pain of that day and our loss.
I know there are a whole lot of you reading this now, that know exactly how I feel. Losing a parent, especially when you are a child, is something you never fully “get over”.
Sure we walk around looking like ourselves on the outside, but inside there’s a little girl or boy who is crying. And every year when this date comes around, I want to hold that little girl and tell her it will be okay.
Here I sit, at 59, trying to write this with tears streaming down my face. The emotions that I feel inside are every bit as strong, if not stronger, than they were that day.
On that day, and many more afterwards, I didn’t feel anything at all. But as an adult I know what I truly lost on that Sunday so long ago.
I had no mother to talk to when my period came at age 12. She wasn’t there the day I graduated from high school either. When I was busy planning my wedding, there was no “Mother of the Bride” to help me pick out a dress or flowers.
But probably the day I felt the most profound loss was the day my first child was born. Holding my newborn son in my arms, looking down at his scrunched up pink face, I felt so sad that my Mom wasn’t there to meet him.
And I cried for him too. He would never get to know his grandmother. He’d never hear her voice or feel her touch, and that was the saddest feeling of all.
I vowed that day to stay healthy and do everything in my power to stay alive and full of life for as long as I could. My mother didn’t take care of herself. She put everyone else’s needs above her own, and had an unhealthy “white bread” diet.
I’ve been very conscientious of my health and diet my entire adult life because of that. And, I’ve already outlived my Mom by 11 years. (Funny, I just realized that I was 11 when she died.)
I want to be able to say I outlived her by 30 years.
Each year on the anniversary of her death, I’ve taken a few moments to reflect on her life and how she lived it. Perhaps this year I will change that and instead take a few moments to reflect on my life and how I see myself in one year or even in thirty years.
Staying fit and healthy is my number one priority. I have to shift my thinking to the future, and me and tell that little girl everything will be okay…because it is.