15 Year “Anniversary”

My mother's journal entry to me.
My mother’s journal entry to me.

Today is one of those terrible days in my family’s history; 15 years ago, we said goodbye to my mother after she lost her battle with lung cancer. In the 16 years I was fortunate to have her in my life, I feel I didn’t know her well enough. Her journal entry (above) demonstrates how much a mother knows her child. My heart was so broken when I found out she had cancer. I left the room and went to the bathroom to cry. There was no way to pull myself together.

I don’t know how I watched her struggle without asking more about her as a person. Fortunately, many of her family members (siblings, her husband, and my siblings) are around to share stories about her. Sadly though, her perspective on life is lost except for what was saved in the notes she wrote to her husband and children.

Today I share this note with you all because life is precious. I am not perfect; I still waste the moments I am given. God spared my life as a baby and for reasons unknown, I was one of His children to come home from Iraq. I’ve had my moments of doubt for His plans and my ability to carry out those orders. He’s seen me in one of my worst moments and he’s rewarded me more than I deserve for moving forward.

I am not the same person I was before I lost my mother. She has also seen my transformations and achievements. Some day, I’ll know how she feels about my Marine Corps service. I’ll know her thoughts about my family and the grandchildren she’s never held.

Last night, I was reminded of her absence by my five-year-old. We have nightly Skype visits while she’s gone to Wyoming. She knows she has two grandmas (her maternal grandmother and maternal great mother) and I reminded her about her Nannie, my stepmother. She also knows about her late grandparents. My sweet girl asked if her Nannie was my real mom. I know what she was asking, so I had to say no. We worked through our conversation about my mom again and I told her I’d show her pictures.

For now though, please enjoy this photo of the woman who prayed for me years ago. She built our family. She rebuilt our family after her divorce and subsequent marriage to the man I call my dad. She missed many milestones in my life, not by her choice. She was, and always will be, my mother.

Mom