“The first days are the hardest days, don’t you worry anymore.” –Robert Hunter
Before it even began, I knew that today would be one of the most difficult days of my life. One year ago today my mother lost her courageous battle against breast cancer. She was way too young to go and truly undeserving of her cruel fate.
On the Jewish holiday Passover the youngest person present is supposed to ask his older and wiser dining companions “Why is this night different from all other nights?” The answer, though seemingly obvious, is explained so that all those present can understand. It’s not just any day, but a day with significance and history behind it and we must remember it as such and keep telling the tale year after year lest we forget it.
As I’ve been watching the calendar inch closer and closer I knew that I was anxiously awaiting today but didn’t know exactly why, again besides the obvious reason, this day would be different from all other days. So I sat down to speak to my older and wiser friend Steve, who had unfortunately lost his father many years ago. Steve’s father passed away years before we ever met, but over the course of our friendship I feel as though I’ve come to know his father through the stories, anecdotes and lessons that Steve has shared with me. Those words of wisdom will live on, as will Steve’s father’s legacy, to be passed down from generation to generation in his family.
One thing that some of my friends who had lost parents told me over the past year is that “the first everything will be the hardest”. Meaning the first Mother’s Day, birthday, Thanksgiving and every other occasion that we normally commemorate would be extra difficult emotionally. And my friends were 100% right. Those days were all terribly difficult without my mother to share them with for the first time. Even though we lived across the country from each other and didn’t always celebrate in person, we still had ways to share these events across the miles.
Just as I had my firsts, there were several firsts that my mother missed over the last year. As she passed away just a couple days before my son turned 14 months, she missed his first haircut. And his first steps. And his first words. She also missed reading my blog, which she had encouraged me to write. I started writing again a few months after her passing. Even though she was gone, she continued to inspire me to try to better myself.
In talking to Steve about what this day means and why I’m feeling the way I do, he summed it up perfectly. Now that I’ve made it past the first July 4th, Labor Day and, of course, Passover without my mother, the one year anniversary of her death is the “last first”. It is the culmination of a year of waiting for the phone to ring with her at the other end of the line, knowing that it unfortunately never will.
Now that this year is over, my mission is to not only continue to remember my mother and her legacy, but also to make sure it lives on for future generations. Sadly, my son likely won’t remember his Grammy and her infectious laugh, penchant for black pants and affinity for the TV show “Cash Cab”. But he will see pictures & videos and hear myriad stories about her from his parents, aunts & uncles, cousins, Papa and all those who cared about this wonderful woman who was taken from us way too soon.
|My Mother, Me & BC - January 2010|