There are certain days of the year that I dread. And no matter what preventative measures I take, these dreaded days come. And they don’t seem to get all that easier.
The absolute worst day of my calendar year is October 7th. And there is no avoiding it. It comes the same time each year. Day after October 6th. Day before October 8th. Every freaking year. The deathiversary of my mom.
The deathiversary is the one day each year that I relive every single second of the day my mom died. It’s amazing how the mind works. Yesterday, I couldn’t do this. Tomorrow I won’t be able to either. But something about today.
Just knowing it’s THE day. Every time I look at the clock I am instantly transported back to that day and exactly what took place at that time. It is absolutely exhausting and extremely painful.
10:03am After being up all night, my dad wakes me to come upstairs. Things aren’t going well.
Sometimes the anxiety leading up to the day can be even worse than the day itself. Yet sometimes, I’m caught off guard. The day can turn out to be so much harder than I anticipated.
It’s so crazy how that happens. No rhyme or reason. It just sucks.
My mom’s entire ordeal started out really slowly and we didn’t really get worried for a while. One day she started to have trouble speaking. But she told us she had just had dental work done, so we wrote it off. It’s funny what you’ll believe when you’re afraid of the truth.
11:43am The hospice nurse pronounces my mom dead.
Then one day, she fell at work. That’s when my dad got her to go to the emergency room one night. I think it was a Thursday. I came home and there was a note saying where they were. I wasn’t overly concerned.
My mom was always the healthy one. The one who did everything for everyone. There was just never a thought in my mind that anything could happen to her.
That’s when all of the testing started. Test after freaking test. Couldn’t find a damn thing. Except now her symptoms were getting worse.
Not only was her speech affected, but now she couldn’t walk. She was bedridden. Just like that. She never walked or talked again.
11:50am My uncle comes over because he has a feeling something is wrong.
A transfer of hospitals wouldn’t give us many answers at first. And to be honest I can’t really remember what exactly happened. All I know is that in thirteen months she was dead. And that was it. So none of that in between really matters anymore.
12:13pm My mom’s three best friends stop by for their weekly visit.
I can remember right after she died how every waking hour mattered. It’s the first Wednesday without my mom. My mom has been dead two weeks and three days. First birthdays and holidays without her.
All the firsts are so painfully hard. Each day I would think back to that day the year before when she was alive and well. And what we were doing. It’s enough to make you insane.
12:30pm My brothers get home to say their final good-byes.
I always felt myself thinking back to those days wondering what I had missed. How didn’t I see this coming? There must have been warning signs. I was obsessed.
But in the end none of that mattered. Nothing would bring her back. I could ask why all I wanted but I wasn’t going to get an answer.
1:12pm The undertakers arrive and throw my mom’s body into a big black bag and zip it up. Just another day at the office for them.
A few months after she died I took Dat’s cell phone and texted Juan from it. All I wrote was “I miss mom”. Two seconds later, Juan is calling Dat. He wants to know what the hell is wrong with him? I laughed.
That’s how I really got through it. F-ing with my brothers. My mom would have been proud.
1:47pm Family and friends start to arrive after hearing the news. Bad news travels fast.
My mom’s illness came right at a time when our relationship was changing. We were going from mother/daughter to friends. It was awesome.
We talked everyday on the phone. From work. Because I still lived at home. I used to tease that I would get married and my husband and I would move into the basement. Little did I know at the time, that is exactly what would happen.
I remember calling her one weekend morning to tell her I had a surprise for her. She said, you got engaged? I said no, I didn’t get engaged. Why would you even think that? Her reply was, well that’s the only reason I could think of for you not sleeping at home last night. She was funny like that.
3:30pm Beau walks into the most uncomfortable situation of his life. Poor Beau.
My big surprise was that I was finally buying a computer and we would have access to that world wide web that everyone was talking about. This really excited my mom because she heard you could clip coupons on the internet. And get recipes.
I was buying one because I was fulfilling her dream of all dreams and finally completing my degree in education. My mom was really disappointed when I dropped out of college. She really wanted me to graduate and be able to take care of myself and not have to rely on a man.
3:31pm I crack my first beer.
She was always so excited telling me that I can be anything I wanted to be. She didn’t have all of these options when she was my age. But I didn’t want to be anything in particular.
I was perfectly content living in her basement. And Beau was in no major hurry to graduate either. Now I can see why this might worry her.
She lived to see Beau graduate. That lucky sonofabitch. But she died seven months before I did.
The day I got my diploma, I went to the cemetery in my cap and gown. She didn’t even get up to congratulate me. It wasn’t exactly what I had in mind.
5:00pm We have more food and alcohol than we can ever eat or drink. Our house is filled with laughter and it feels like a party. For the first time in a long time.
Graduating college, getting married, and having kids was so hard to do without my mom. But having a baby was the one thing that finally connected me back to her. Once I was a mom I finally knew without a doubt how much my mom loved me.
I had a lot of guilt when my mom died. If only I had done this or that. If only she had lived to see the person I had become. I wanted so desperately for her to be proud of me. I felt that she died not getting to know the real me.
8:11pm I begin to blackout. Finally, I don’t have to feel anymore.
But once I had a baby of my own, I understood. I understood the love of a mother for her child.
I understood that no matter what was going on in my life my mom loved me like no one else ever could. She was proud of me. She had loved me unconditionally.
I knew in that moment just how much she loved me and that I could do no wrong in her eyes. It was such a weight lifted off of my shoulders. I finally got it.
Here I am fourteen years later. I still hate this day. Juan, Dat, and I send our usual morbid texts to one another. It makes me happy to do this. My friends are amazing on this day. I love getting messages from everyone.
Today, for the first time in fourteen years, I decided to open a box of my mom’s things that I have had in the basement. It still smells exactly like her perfume. It hit me like a ton of bricks. It’s unbelievable how a scent can bring the memories flooding back. It’s like my mom is hear with me.
In honor of my mom I am going to open a bottle of wine and do exactly what I did fourteen years ago tonight. And when I come to, it will be October 8th and I will wake up to the same realization I did twelve years ago. Life goes on. Like it or not.
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