Monday, May 2, 2011

my mom died today

      part of her never wonders
        just as part of her never forgets
        the last image in a six year old's mind
        of a mother she never got to know
        25 years later
        as her own life approaches the last 
        of her mother's days
        she remembers the little things
        and mentally prepares to die.

        after doesn't outlive their mother do they?
        (taken from my journal - written a few years before i turned 37)

may 2, 1975 at 2:30 in the morning, my mom took her last breath. thirty-six years ago today, at the age of 37, in a one bedroom apartment in lantana, florida, patricia ann foley laquay died in her sleep. i was six years old. my sister was seven.

i didn't understand at the time what death was of course. to me death meant someone would be gone for awhile but they'd be back. at six years old i didn't understand never. i didn't know that i'd never see her again. i didn't know death was final.

i didn't know my life was forever altered. that i would miss her. that i would grow up wondering about her. that i would live with questions about her that would never be answered.  

i didn't know that her dying at 37 would mean that i'd struggle one day to want children of my own. that i wouldn't be able to promise anyone "i'll always be here for you", when i knew first hand it was a promise you can't always keep.

i didn't know that i would hate when my friend's fought with their moms. that i would think they were crazy to take for granted the luxury of having a mother. that i would shake my head and think it wasn't fair that they had a mom and i didn't.
i didn't know that i wouldn't have anyone to show me about the girl things in life. that i would have to tell my dad the first time i got my period. that i would never be able to sign my mom up to be class mom or help with girl scouts.

i didn't know that i would fear turning 37 myself. that i would wonder if i was going to die too. that i would have a tremendous amount of guilt for outliving my mother.

the day my mom died i didn't know then that i'd spend my whole life without a mother. that i'd never look at the world the same as everyone else. that i'd spend years pretending it didn't matter.

at six years old there were a lot of things i didn't know. there were a lot of things i wasn't ready for. but somehow, amidst the fear, and the guilt, and the struggling,  i still grew up. i still lived past 37. i still survived.

though i never really knew my mom, she was one of the greatest teacher's i've ever had. her death at such a young age taught me -at such a young age- that life is fragile,  and short, and temporary. it taught me to not take people for granted. to say what you feel. to not be embarrassed to hug or to cry or to love. 

her death taught me that life is short and that people are important. her death taught me that we all have inside of us more strength than we think. her death taught me that God is real.

thirty six years ago today my mom died and my life was forever changed. i'll always miss her. i'll always wish i had a chance to know her. i'll always wish she hadn't died. but i'll never regret who i became because of her. 

there's a part of my mom that lives on inside of me. a part of her that still teaches me about life. a part of her, that though i never knew it and though i never knew her, was really a part of that six year old girl all along.


  1. I'm still sitting here. thinking. 15 minutes after reading.. that's a good thing!

  2. that is a good thing! i'm always amazed at how God puts the right words out there to touch just the right hearts. He's great like that...knowing just what we need!!!

  3. Colleen,
    I love that you aren't writing this blog for yourself (even though it's all about yourself), but that you use it to express whatever God wants to say through you. I for one can testify that your words (especially today's) are exactly what I needed to hear. And I know only God would have known I needed it. So thank you for being a blessing to me. Love you always!
    Jenn W.

  4. thanks jenn!!! i think people relate so much because it makes them feel like they're not alone, like they're not the only one who feels the way they do. God knows what we need way before we do and He sends it just when we need it. since we're friends on earth, you think our moms are friends in Heaven?

  5. I really needed to see this today. Fighting with my mom and wanting to be away from her and then I came across your blog. God knew that I needed to see this. My mom has never been perfect or even close to it, but she did the best she could at the time raising me on her own. I have a tough time remembering any good times, but there had to be some. I just need to open my heart to them. Thanks!

  6. @anonymous...i'm always amazed at how God gives us what we need at just the right time...He's good like that. He knows your heart. He sees you. and He'll help you find what you need to have peace about your mom. thanks for your warmed my heart.

  7. Thank you. My mom died 21 years ago when I was 5 and I have never met anyone else who had the same fate as me. What you have shared was really comforting to me. Sometimes I feel it has gotten easier for me in comparison to how unbearable it was as a child but I'm scared I will never fully heal. It would probably help if I let God back into my life. Thank you so much for sharing.

  8. beccareh...other than my sister, i've never met anyone either whose mom died when they were so young. it's not easy to grow up without a mom and i'm not sure that part of our hearts ever really heal. but i agree that letting God back into your life will help. He is the only thing that has helped me and saved me when i thought nothing could. thanks for posting your comment. you are not alone. :)