Text from my mother: I just wish I had one more hug and a chance to talk to your father so I could let him go and move on with my life. You know how hard this time of year is.
Yes. I do. He died in November 27, 2008. Eliana was 6 months old. I was 6 weeks shy of my 30th birthday. It was my mother's 49th birthday and that year, the day before Thanksgiving. He was only 50 years old. My parents had just celebrated 30 years of marriage that September.
It's hard to give thanks, sometimes, when the day is wrapped in memories of loss. For my mom, it's doubly so. Every year is a reminder of the day she lost her husband. Every year I remember how her legs buckled and I caught her before she hit the ground when the monitors flatlined, telling us that he was gone.
I'm not there to catch her now. But I can check on her. I know today she is spending with her good friends across the street from her house. I know she's talking to a guy and that's a good thing. The song about the Christmas shoes makes me cry. I know this time of year sucks and that's just keeping it real.
I love my mom. I miss my dad. I'm grateful for what I have. But it doesn't make me any less aware of what we've lost.
For those struggling this holiday season, don't think you need to diminish or minimize your feelings. You're not a heartless being. It's possible to be happy and feel extreme sadness at the same time no matter what anyone says. And anyone who tells you to chin up can honestly fuck off. They mean well, mostly, but pretending isn't going to validate or help you cope with your feelings in the slightest.
I'm smiling. I'm laughing. I'm sad. I tear up. It's all there. And because I know my mom is dealing with so much, I'll keep checking in on her. I get it. I miss him, too.