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 all...one 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.