It is a year that you left us. A year the dreaded phone call arrived, you know, the one I was so scared off, for so many years prior to actually receiving it. Maybe you never knew because we never talked about those kind of things. One year ago, your health declined for the worse and my flight was booked. Soon I’d be there to hold your hand, to give you courage, and a reason to go on, to fight with you the fight for your life like you had done so many times before.
I remember the last time you were this sick and then miraculously recovered against all odds. Afterwards I was joking with you, grateful, but also comparing you to a cat with nine lives. You yourself made fun about it, saying that you were jumping off the grim reapers shovel once more. But this would not be the case this time and it would be your last fight. On September the 28th it was confirmed in that very phone call. You had passed away and you were on your way of becoming an angel. I was too late, and the last time I saw you in person and said goodbye, was with a promise to be back soon, to do whatever I could to take you out of the nursing home and bring you back into your own four walls. It wasn’t a forever goodbye, such as a goodbye to your life, although every time I did leave always held the possibility that I’d never see you again. That thought itself was scary enough and always weighed heavily on me. I prayed, and I hoped, I believed, and I pushed it away, not wanting to think about it coming true. But it did and the inevitable call came.
Today I believe it had happen this way and I’m not sure if I could have been strong enough to sit next to you, saying my final goodbye, watching you take your last breath. I know that it would have broken me even more, maybe beyond the point of repair, and I know that this wasn’t what you wanted for me. Perhaps in your final hours you bestowed your biggest kindness towards me, going off towards the light in silence and alone. I know you weren’t afraid in the end and you were looking forward to reunite with Dad. You knew I would find a way to go on and not be haunted by those final images of you being in pain, finally letting go.
A year has past since you’ve been gone. A year of coming to some sort of acceptance as I wander through the streets of loneliness, missing you more than I could have ever imagined. A year of trying to celebrate holidays and special occasions without you, trying to make it through and holding it together somehow. Family traits and values passed down, remnants of YOU, a strong woman, tough and resilient, who and what you always resembled to me growing up. I would have failed you during your last hours and I wouldn’t have been able to hold it together.
The fact is that I don’t share those same views and I am not afraid to show my emotions. I don’t see them as a weakness and I don’t buy into upholding a front, a facade that hides and is made of steel. I am not afraid to say that it’s not the same without you, and that you cross my mind on most days. Special occasions such as your birthday have become times that are now harder than usual. Harder because they can’t be shared, harder because you are not here .
I find myself surrounded by the memory that is you and the time we did get to spend together. In the end you embraced me as your daughter and I think you even forgave me. You finally understood that me coming to the States was not at all to leave you behind, abandoned, and all alone. I was simply trying to live my life, to be responsible and strong, just like you, like you have raised me. How could I have realized the impact of such a decision.
Many dragonflies have sat with me this summer and my response is always a painful smile and a whisper that says “Hello Mom.” I know it is you and I remember how you came and sat on my hand shortly after your passing. I had just arrived in Germany and on a sunny fall day, you, a beautiful dragonfly, landed on my hand, sharing a couple of moments with me. I will never forget it, and I immediately knew you came to tell me that you were ok and made the transition to heaven. It was a message from you trying to put me at ease, lifting some of the burden and the pain I felt.
Mom, I don’t know how many times I have talked to you over the past year. Feeling that I never really got to say goodbye. Looking to understand, but never really feeling a sense of closure. You’re simply gone, no more, and it’s hard not being able to call you on the phone and hear your voice. Luckily you left me a few surprise videos, recording yourself by accident and a few times I’ve even managed to view a live picture and get a few seconds of footage, or a little video clip of you. Sometimes I even manage a smile. But most of the times it’s just torture and pain knowing you are gone. It’s a feeling of loss, a hole, something that can’t be filled and lives deep inside my heart. I know you are always with me and yet you are not. I know I love with the memories and although they are precious and priceless, sometimes they don’t seem enough and bring little to no comfort.
You have sent me so many feathers over the past year and I am sure it is because you see my pain. I know you are watching over me and perhaps it is for the first in a long time you are actually finding fulfillment to give me all your care and love. It was too hard for you to do in real life and I know you struggled with it. You just didn’t know how but I know it wasn’t because you didn’t care, but because of your own tough life and having to grow up way too early in a war. It was something you never learned and perhaps you have never received it yourself. Therefore you couldn’t pass it forward although it was something I needed above all from you.
I like to think that you are in a better place where there is no suffering and somehow I know this to be true. I am grateful you didn’t have to experience the current times, as I couldn’t imagine you in that home and me unable to see you.
I know that grief never ends, but it changes. It’s a passage, not a place to stay. Grief is not a sign of weakness, nor a lack of faith. It is the price of love and I have always loved you dearly. I miss you Mom.