I see my life, as it’s taken place so far, as having 2 parts. The part that existed before my Mum died, and the part after. Everything that has taken place is either "pre" or "post" that devastating day.
Right after it happened, I remember knowing at that moment that this was how it was going to be. I knew then that whatever happened from now onwards would never be perfect, complete or golden. And that’s true. Weddings, the births of my kids, whatever, no matter how special or joyous – there are shadows. Thoughts of "what if" and whispers of what could have, should have been.
I also remember thinking that the loss of such a tremendous force in my life demanded a tribute so huge, so grand that it would shout out to humanity the magnitude of my loss, the greatness of this one person who loved me so perfectly and gave her life and heart to her family. I thought – a book should be written, pronouncements should be made…the world should be made to know what it has lost.
Now, almost 8 years later, and I’ve yet to write that book. I am hoping that someday I will – or make my statement of honor in some other significant way. I’ve come to realise, however, that I am able to pay tribute to my beautiful mother every day: So much of what I do, who I am has been shaped by her in every way. I honor her with the way I chop an onion, with purple and pink fuschia baskets that I hang outside my front door, with saying prayers with my kids before they sleep and with how I put on my lip gloss (just on the bottom lip and then smudge) and with my choice of shoes for the summer (taupe shoes elongate the leg), with always writing thank-you notes, and always being polite.
My mom’s words echo in my mind throughout the day, her messages and training guiding me through this life and helping me face and overcome the challenges of my day-to-day. Her voice is so powerful even now, years after her passing. I hope that I can have a fraction of that profound impact on my own children and their development.
At the time, whether it was sitting in the kitchen begrudgingly learning to cook, or at my little girl desk writing out thank you notes and letters to my grandparents, I didn’t appreciate these life lessons. Now, I realise that they’re invaluable. My mother gave me the knowledge and power to walk into any room, feel confident, be comfortable and make others comfortable (at least I hope so). She taught me to express myself through writing and voice, and to listen and accept the expressions of others. I would give anything to have her with me right now, but I take solace in the incredible skill set she has given me to live in this world.