At some point late this month, I realized that neither my brother nor I had changed our calendars to August. We hadn't talked about it and I just happened to notice that he hadn't done it, either, when I was at his house last week. By unspoken agreement, apparently, August is now our least-favorite month and I think that neither of us wanted to acknowledge that it was upon us.
As of last Friday, our mom has been gone for a whole year. My brother wrote this soul-crushingly good piece on Facebook that he posted that day, but I wasn't able to order my thoughts enough to put something here. I'm still not entirely sure I've got them together, but I felt I needed to get something down as we usher out this unfortunate month and move on to the next year of our lives without her.
I had to smile wryly as a friend on Facebook put in her status update that August 26th was her favorite day of the year because it was the birthday of three of her favorite people. It was one of those reminders of the Circle of Life and all that, a theme that has been popping up for me quite often, recently. As hard as it is to acknowledge sometimes, life does indeed go on, even when we lose someone so vitally important to us. That same day, babies are born, couples get married, people find the help they desperately seek, doctors heal the grievously injured and, as much as we feel like our lives have spun to a stop, the same things will happen the very next day. Though we move forward feeling as though a piece of us was ripped away, we do still move forward.
Last November, I wrote about how hard it was to go to places where Mom and I had gone, because in every corner were reminders of her and I was sometimes overwhelmed with how gaping the hole was in my life. I said that "I need to find a way or simply get to a point where these reminders bring me moments of happiness instead of pings of sadness." Much to my surprise, I have gotten to that point. I can smile when I am hit with those little reminders of her and think of them more fondly than sadly.
I'm building my bridge. Every once in a while a bracket or cable snaps (to further abuse that metaphor) and I'm right back in that ICU room listening to the machines go nuts that one, final time before she was gone. But I keep making repairs and shoring up my pillars (I'm done, I promise) and I'm inching toward the other side.
I couldn't be who I am and where I am without my mom's gifts to me and, even though looking back at them and weighing her loss in my life still brings me to tears, I'm infinitely grateful for her -- who she was, what she did and all she provided to me and my brother, tangible and intangible, while she was here.