Things do get easier.
At least, I tell myself this constantly. Today. Today is EASIER! I shout at myself. Sometimes it sticks. Other times, I squish my eyes close and try to disappear.
I have more happy days than sad days now. I really do. But the sad days are heavy. The moments are bold. They outlast my memory of the good sometimes. I can’t help it. I can’t shake them. I wish to God I could.
Yesterday I decided to bake sugar cookies with Jude. I rummaged through the kitchen cabinets and drawers searching for cookie cutters. I tried all the usual suspects. Nada. I tried places that I was sure they weren’t. And they weren’t. I looked twice, three times. Nothing I did changed the outcome for me. Jordan was around and I went to where he was on the couch and threw my hands to my cheeks.
“I just want to ask my mom where she put the cookie cutters and I can’t even do it. This is so frustrating.”
“Come give me a hug,” he replied. I slumped over him and pressed my head to his chest as his arms wrapped around me.
I think this was the first time I realized that death could be more than just sad. It is frustrating too, frustrating that I couldn’t ask my mom another question. The cookie cutters would forever be lost until one day I stumbled upon them again. And if I do, I can’t imagine I wouldn’t cry. I can’t imagine how insane I’ll look when I find the damn cookie cutters and cry like a damn baby.
I can’t explain how this feels to someone who hasn’t been through it, but I try. It makes you want to laugh and cry all at the same time. I know she didn’t throw them away. They are somewhere in that damn house. But maybe I wasn’t supposed to find them yesterday. Maybe things work out unexpectedly. That’s at least what I tell myself these days.
My mind goes back to our conversation when my mom got diagnosed with MS in 2011 a lot. I was sitting on the steps of the apartment I was living in at the time and my mom was on the other end of the phone telling me the white spots on her MRI were lesions, like she had thought. I was trying to hold it together, for her, but my eyes were leaking something fierce.
“I just don’t want to die before you have kids. I want to meet my grandkids,” she sobbed.
“You will. I promise you will.”
Back then, we had no idea that just three years later she’d get diagnosed with stage 3A ovarian cancer. MS was the scary beast then. That was the worst thing we were going to have to deal with. We were so naive.
Life is funny though. It grants wishes before you even realize it. I was pregnant not two months later with my son. It was unexpected, a surprise. But looking back, I wonder if I was supposed to get pregnant then so my mom could have four precious years with her grand-baby. I’m so thankful that an accident gave me and her such a miracle.
I hold on to these little moments, these big signs. They get me through the times where I want to scream about cookie cutters or cry when my son says he still wants to buy his Mom-Mom a present for Christmas – purple flowers because purple is her favorite color.
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