When I lost her–my mother, my gypsy, my patron saint of love and kindness–the echoes first began.
“It gets better. Just wait. It’ll get better.”
I hated every person who offered me those words. For their guilty eyes and soft voices. For their pity. For filling my head with false promises of tranquility, impossible visions of peace.
How could it possibly get better?
Every day that passes I’m 24 hours more removed from the last time she held me in her arms. The last time she stroked my hair. The last time she spoke three infinitely more soothing words.
“I love you.”
Every day that passes my vision of her fades just slightly more. Her image fuzzes around the edges. Pixelates. Unnoticed from one day to the next. But combined, she’s becoming a blur.
I claw through my memories trying to find one of her laugh. One of her hum. One of her silly smiles. I feel victorious when a forgotten detail surfaces—in photograph or video or voicemail or dream.
But I know I have no ownership over those stolen moments. I know I’ll lose those details too.
Give it another day.
With each changing season, the things she’s given me age. Shirts, shoes, sunglasses, jewelry, watches, purses and more. I won’t leave the house without one of those priceless gifts. At least one thing. Maybe the Tiffany earrings she and my sister went in on together for my college graduation. Or the Tom’s sunglasses she gave me our last Christmas together.
Our last Christmas.
But those objects, those items, those physical incarnations of her love and generosity—they are not immune to the mighty arms of time either. Jewelry is lost. Shoes wear down. Sunglasses break. Every day I have less of her to weave into my wardrobe. To wear her love like a blanket on my skin.
How could it possibly get better?
My dreams—the ones where she’s still alive—they’re treasures. I experience her just as she was. I wake up surrounded in the warmth of her. And long to drift back to the place where she lives in my subconscious.
But every day that passes, I have them less and less.
It can’t ever get better.
Now as I wind through my second full year without her, I know the words I’ve hated for so long are true.
It’s getting better.
I wouldn’t call it peace, but time has given me something I didn’t know it could. As I try to balance holding on and letting go and moving forward while desperately clinging to the past, as I fight to forget nothing and even as I continuously fail, time still offers a comfort.
A new echo caressing my ears. Of “This is okay.” Of “This is what is.”
She’s not here. I’ll never not miss her. I’ll never not wish I had more time. I’ll never not want even one more day by her side. I’ll never stop trying to remember more pieces of her. I’ll never stop mourning them as they fade too far away into the darkness of my fragile, fallible, feeble human mind.
But still—even still—it’s better.
And I’m grateful to everyone who told me so.
And even more grateful that they were right.
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One thought on “To the ones who said, “It gets better””
Beautifully said. I lost my mom a year ago and your words depict my very state of mind. The anger, the sadness, the constant battle between letting go and holding on, the chaos of it all. Moving on, without mom, is indeed a journey. HUGS!
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