A Year Without My Mom: Reflections, Revelries and Repentances

It is so easy to forget all your accomplishments, completed tasks and celebrations throughout the year if you don’t press pause every now and then to review. Our revelries will be overlooked if we let ourselves get stuck in a discouraging, infuriating or heartbreaking moment.

We’ve all heard the remarks, right? ‘Good riddance to this year.’ ‘It’s been a crap year.’ ‘Out with the old in with the new.’ ‘I can’t wait until this year is over.’  These comments never resonated with me and in fact, they confuse me. Like, does that mean that the entire year was insignificant and not worth remembering or reflecting on?Was there not one smile, lesson, sunny day or song in a full twelve-month period that was worth future recollection? Even if the year’s purpose was simply to get you to where you are today, it was not a wasted stretch of time.

Each year I look forward to the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. I usually have days off and there are less activities and festivities going on. There is something therapeutic about setting new goals, making resolutions and reflecting on the past year. 

As I reflect on the past twelve months, I appreciate the ups and downs that life brings us.  I’m reminded what it felt like when we lost our beloved cat. The bittersweet, reminiscent visit to my reclusive Uncle’s hospital bed allowed me to see a resemblance of my father one more time. And the traumatic event that stopped my world from spinning and forever changed my life was when my mom died. A brain hemorrhage put her in a comma for eight days. There was nothing the doctors could do. I was at her bedside every day. Each night I prayed a conflicted prayer asking God to let her live another day so that I can have more time with her. At the same time, I asked the Lord to take her because I knew this was not how she wanted to live.  The woman that shaped me, my biggest fan, the one person I spoke to every day for 46 years and loved my entire life is gone. Even a year later, sadness still strikes in waves. It arises for a moment or two and then passes until the next time.  It can hit several times in one day, or I can go days without it. 

Despite the loss of my mom and in between those bouts of sadness, there was a great deal to celebrate throughout the rest of the year.  My husband and I celebrated our 10-year wedding anniversary. Two of our daughters graduated high school and went off to their first year of college.  There were birthday celebrations, dinners, parties, concerts, charity events, sporting events, volunteer work and the kid’s extra-curricular activities. Twelve monthsis a long time to simply toss out the window and wish away.

As I review the past year on my calendar, I realize that joyful celebrations, exciting activities, family gatherings and traditions far outweighed infuriating and heartbreaking moments.  So, why are we willing to throw out an entire year’s worth of memories over a few events that we want to forget?

Be sad, cry, scream, punch a pillow, write an angry letter; then move on.  I’ve honored my sorrow on the daily for months. A thought arises, and I begin to feel sad and honestly, I don’t mind. It allows me to release my feelings. I’m able to remember my mom in ways that makes me believe she is here with me or at least comes and visits once and awhile. A song, a book, certain words, a scent, a thought, a prayer, a picture, a phrase all can spark thoughts and memories of her. It reminds me that she lived, she existed, she was here, and she is remembered.

If I don’t acknowledge the feeling and allow myself to be sad, it will get bottled up on top of other unreleased feelings until I explode. I try to allow myself to express the feeling in some way and move on. The point is, feel your feelings.

Don’t plant the seed of a bad year, or bad week, or even a bad day by telling yourself it’s going to be one. There are, however, bad moments and around every corner of a bad moment lies hope for a better moment. Live life one moment at a time. 

In the New Year I’m looking forward to slowing down just a little. I’d like to do more of the things that I want to do and love to do and less of what I don’t find enjoyable.

Tell me this: What types of things do you do to make sure you don’t get stuck in a bad moment, day, month or year? 

4 thoughts on “A Year Without My Mom: Reflections, Revelries and Repentances

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