There have been 14 other birthdays like this one. The ones without her. Every year I think, it will pass me by and that I will not run me over like a train but I am perpetually wrong about that. I recently saw an interview with a Virginia Tech shooting survivor and she said that the brain would start to prepare you for the anniversary. Almost subconsciously. So perhaps my brain was getting me ready for today. I did not see that train coming until it was over me. Here I am, laying on the tracks, unable to move.
I was recently talking to my brother and he expressed he is still frustrated with our mother. She was the great withholder. She was never 100% honest with her doctors or us about her health. She kept so much hidden from us that once the point of no return had been reached we were just coming in to picture. She was terrible about the truth sometimes. It frustrates and saddens us both. We both if we had known more could we have done something different for her or made her be more proactive in her health. But we will never know because we never knew everything.
This morning on the way in to work I realized that my sadness yesterday was also about the number on that scale at Weight Watchers. I am not as healthy was I was two years ago and that should scare me. I am 47 and while my mother would have been 72 today, she will forever be 56. Only 9 years older than me RIGHT NOW. I had the same revelation in 2014 and it really needs to stick in my head more often. I need to live longer than she did. I cannot control other things in life but I can control myself. I will not leave behind a daughter and a son, but I would be leaving so many other people. That makes the train hit a whole lot harder.
Losing a parent is a terrible thing. Losing anyone important is horrific. I have many widow friends who have taught me more about grief than I thought possible and I listen to them for words of wisdom. This journey is one that does not end. There is no station of peace at the end of the line because the tracks just keep going in circles. I will just keep doing this for as long as I am alive. Because I miss her. Every. Single. Day. What I can do on this journey is look out the window, enjoy the view, think about how much I love her, stay on the train, and hang on for the next tunnel.