That’s what I will always call her, my mommy. In the later years I had called her “mom” because mommy seemed too childish. Our relationship was evolving from one of mother-daughter to also being good friends. She was the kind of good friend where she understood everything about my past, my dreams, and me. I only wish that we could’ve grown more in that role. She was my world and when she died, my world crashed.
Nine years has passed since that life-changing day (June 22, 2004) but the pain at times feels as raw as the day it happened. The uneasiness of not having your “rock” to hold onto for comfort and support. The unknown of facing life’s challenges, successes and joy without your biggest supporter by your side. So this is my Missing Mommy Day. I allow myself to do whatever I feel fit to honor my mom’s memory, celebrate her life, or just plain cry. It doesn’t matter. It’s Missing Mommy Day (in case you’re wondering, I chose to enjoy lots of cookie dough today while thinking about her)!
It has been some rough years full of tears, love, pain, and laughter. But we (my dad, sister and I) have managed to move on, grow and continue to find joy in life. It’s what she would’ve wanted. She always focused on the positive and would’ve wanted us to move forward. In her short time here, she taught us many valuable lessons. Here are just a few of those lessons.
1. Be grateful. There were times in my childhood when my mom would make us write down (or go round-table at the dinner table) three things we were grateful for. It could be anything from “a beautiful rainbow” or “playing with a friend” to “cooking in the kitchen together.” It didn’t matter what we were thankful for but that we realized that even on the worse days, there’s usually some good.
2. You don’t have to know your life’s passion immediately. I was the ultimate planner. I loved to have my life planned out but it was hard determining what I wanted to do after HS graduation. My mom simply said, “You’ll figure it out as you go.”
She was speaking from experience because it was not until her 30s that she found her dream job. Prior to having me, she had worked at a bank and as a LPN nurse but then she took time off to raise my sister and I. When my little sister started kindergarten, she began working at our school’s library. The library became a media center with the addition of a computer classroom. She learned how to trouble-shoot computers, research new computer games that engaged children, and set up computer labs. At the time of her death, she was assistant technology coordinator for the school district. She had finally found her dream job!
3. Life is not all about your career. Anyone who knew me before the accident, knows that I would almost inevitably only talk about my career goals with very little thought going to other aspects of my life. I just remember my mom always sighing and say “Courtney. Outside of your career, what will you have in 5 years?” I would look at her crazy…like working insane hours at a big advertising firm in Chicago wasn’t enough! I guess it’s safe to say I learned that there was more to life. This was the most profound lesson because I didn’t get it until after she died. It was only then that I realized there were so many things to life and let’s be honest, a career does not provide as much joy, happiness and love as those special people in your life.
So nine years down. Next year will be a big one…ten years! Still trying to figure out how I will properly commemorate so much time without one of my favorite people. Thankfully I have a year to figure it out!