It's been three years since you left this world for Heaven. That is where you are, right? I routinely ask for a sign that such a place exists and that you're up there. I don't usually get one, but somehow, my faith still grows stronger. While the pain of loosing you way too soon could easily cause me to be upset with God or distance myself from Him, it has only served to pull me in closer. I am closer to God today than that day you left our world because I find comfort in the idea of eternity, and being reunited with you again. And because it's a good way to live, and to raise your unbelievably amazing granddaughter who says "Nana. My Nana; Heaven" any time she sees your picture. Did I tell you? She will be going to Catholic school, just like you did.
There isn't a day that goes by that my heart doesn't ache for you to see her and hold her; for her to know you. You adored children, and I knew since a young age that you would relish being a Nana. I also knew that I needed to wait until I met the perfect husband, and could dedicate myself fully to being a Mom, like you did for me. Sometimes, I wish that it hadn't taken me quite so long to find him, but I know I wouldn't be the mom I am today if I were a decade younger. In His timing, right? He needed to make sure that as a Mom, I was ready to be as selfless as you were.
|Printed in the OC Register for Mother's Day, 2007.
You were my strongest supporter, and always so proud of me. Last night as I was falling asleep, I was thinking about the time I moved into that super tiny studio apartment in Redlands, by the YMCA. We were shopping in a newly discovered ritzy thrift store (that sounds like an oxymoron, doesn't it?) down the street, and you proudly told the older volunteer that I just moved into the area. Unimpressed, she didn't really react, but you had a huge smile on your face as you browsed the racks that just did not go away. When I moved to "the OC" as you called it, you were so happy for me even though it hurt us both to only see each other a few times a month.
The anniversary of loosing you is tough and always will be in some way. Months ago, I signed up for the Long Beach half marathon without realizing it fell on October 8th. At first I felt bad with the idea of not visiting your grave today, but quickly realized that it would be time better spent, because going to your grave would be even more upsetting. You wouldn't want that. Plus, you're not there anyway, and I know you would understand. Running remains my panacea, and the race is a good way to honor your memory. You came out to countless races to support me, Dad or Glen over the years and even participated in a few.
|Huntington Beach distance derby - 2011
|Mission Inn half, 2010
|My 3rd LA Marathon, 2005
|My little race bandit
It is because of your love that I am able to love her so fully and completely. You taught me how to love myself, how to love my daughter, and how to love my husband.
While I was driving to Zoomars with A this week, I reached over and pretended that I was holding your hand. I thought of you there next to me, knowing that this would be a trip we would surely make together, and imagining how much fun you would have with her. We would talk and sip our coffee, engaged in conversation interrupted here and there by "Look at me!" and love every second of it. I very much felt your presence, riding in the car with me without trying or realizing. While it did not actually feel like I was holding your hand, I still remember the smallness of your hand in mine and what it felt like, just as I still know your hug, or what it feels like to walk next to you with our arms around each other's waist. Thinking back on it now, it very much reminded me of how I felt your presence while riding the train to Reading to meet your sister Anna and see where you grew up. In both cases, it just happened, without me trying to imagine it first.
Is it wishful thinking to think that it really was you there with me on the drive? Yes. But that doesn't mean that you weren't. Maybe sometimes I do get that sign I'm always asking and hoping for, and just discount it because I'm such a doubting Thomas. Either way, I enjoyed it.
The love you gave me is enough to last a lifetime, and enough to transcend generations. A is so loved by me, because you loved me so. And one day when she's an amazing Mom, it will all be because of you. If I'm not around to see it, I hope I can watch from above, like you're doing now. And I hope that she will also still be able to feel my presence, too, especially when she needs it the most.
One of my biggest fears since your death has been loosing our close connection and our bond. But the love I still feel from you is woven into the very fiber of my being, and can never be broken. All I have to do is close my eyes and I can feel you next to me like the day we sat on the pier, your love warming me more than the sunshine ever could.
I love you eternally, Ma. I hope that I still make you proud, and give you a smile that doesn't easily dissipate. You will continue to do that for me, all the days of my life.