You should be turning 70 today. This year my phrase isn’t “You WOULD be 70 today if you were here.” Nope. Today my sentiment is “You SHOULD be 70 today”. With so many of our family members making it to this milestone, you should have too. Today I’m upset you’re not here. Today as I make your chocolate cake with chocolate frosting with crazy sprinkles on it, you should be eating it with us. But you’re not because life seems to not be fair and today I am choosing to not be ok with the fact that you’re not here.
Grief has been funny this year. My grief has been funny this year. The last few years leading up to the mess that has been 2020, my grief, especially when it comes to the death of my mom, felt like it had calmed down. There are still coping skills and defense mechanisms that I use to protect myself, but overall my grief had seemed pretty chill in its little pretty box. But 2020 has brought me a lot of time on my own as my job, as many did, changed to being all from home. It was fine until my husband went back to work in August. And since then every “grief day” has felt much harder. I could also chalk it up to this year being the 10th anniversary of her death, or just all of the above.
It is normal in our grief journey to think about what could have been. One of the secondary losses that we experience after the death of a loved one is “Loss of Hopes and Dreams of the Future.” Although my mom and I did not have specific plans for our future, I think we just figured she’d just always be right there. She’d watch me graduate from the university that was her dream school that became my reality. She’d walk me down the aisle at my wedding because by golly she deserved that honor for everything she did to raise me. She’d be there as we had kids, she’d probably live next-door to us, and she and I would continue to have adventures and get into trouble. There was nothing that told us that these things wouldn’t happen. Until they didn’t.
Needless to say, I’ve been in my feels more with my grief over the last couple months, which has also prevented me from having the filter I normally do. So today on December 28, 2020, I am here to just tell the world straight up that my mom SHOULD be turning 70 today and I’m choosing to not be ok with the fact that she didn’t even make it to 60. There are so many things that as I have gotten older that I feel like could have helped her or made a difference in her still being here, and in 2020 it’s been hard to not be angry about those things that could have been. And with all the “should haves” that I have been thinking about, I have allowed myself to be angry and then after I’ve expressed that, I have allowed myself to let my anger subside and think about the fun times with her. Grief isn’t just sadness or anger, it can be peace in holding your memories close. It can be happiness in the laughter you shared together, and it can be relief if you know that someone is out of pain.
So today I will work to help others, I will bake a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting with hot pink sprinkles, I will moderate a webinar for my office, and then my husband and I will eat cake and go look at Christmas lights because that’s what we would have been doing with her today if she were here. I will let my soul feel the feelings it needs to feel, I will look back at old pictures of her and of us, and we will tell some stories. For me, this is the best way that we can honor and remember her soul, her life, and her memories. Here’s to you sweet Mama of mine. We love you and we miss you.