An Open Letter to My Mom, a Year Later

Sunrise

 

 

October 13, 2016

 

Dear Mom,

 

I had a dream about you last night. It has been a long time, just shy of a year, in fact, and it was welcome. The last dream I had about you was when you were in the hospital, and I couldn’t do anything to help you. Ever since then, I’ve kept wishing to dream about you, to overshadow that horrible dream, and I’m glad that day finally came. It was actually better than I could have hoped for because not only were you there, but Grandma was as well. You two are so special to me, and having you both back, even for a what seemed like only a minute, was wonderful. But I eventually woke up from my dream and was a mess because of exactly that, I had to wake up. I didn’t want to.

The clock read 4:32 AM. I laid in bed, and all of the emotions that I’ve had over the last year came flooding back in that instance. They were happy and sad and comforting and unsettling all at the same time. There is no one word to describe that flood of emotion. I love thinking about you, but it makes me miss you so much more. It makes me wish you were here. It makes me constantly think, “What if?” I got up and went to the bathroom, hoping to break the dream cycle. But when my head hit the pillow again, it started back and I couldn’t handle it. I woke Colton up; he was comforting for a minute, but it didn’t help much. I rolled back over, wiped my tears away, and scrolled through Facebook on my phone for a bit. That didn’t help either. You were still there. I finally got out of bed and got ready for work, trying to shake you, but I never really could if I wanted to. And I didn’t really want to. I think about you every day. Anytime I question something or I’m going through something new in life, I think about you, and I just want to just pick up the phone and call you. We used to talk multiple times a day, and we talked about anything and everything. I miss that so much; I miss you so much. It must seem like I talk to myself a lot lately, but I am actually talking to you. If Colton has ever heard me, he must think I’m crazy. But I don’t care. I can’t pick up the phone and call you, so it is the next best thing. It helps, every little bit helps.

This morning wasn’t great timing for this flood of emotions, either, because we ran out of coffee yesterday. I’m actually not sure how it happened, we have always ordered coffee on Sunday and it arrives in the mail by Wednesday. But it’s Thursday morning, and there was not one single coffee bean at home. I had to go to Starbucks on my way to work. You used to love going to Starbucks, so now I hate going to Starbucks. I avoid the drive through at all costs; I just can’t do it anymore. It’s amazing how many times we sat in that Starbucks drive-thru line together, at least once a day – sometimes even twice a day. But we didn’t tell anyone, it was our special thing. Even when you didn’t feel up to much of anything else, you were always up for a drive to Starbucks. I miss it so much; I miss you so much. That reminds me: I need to check on my gold card status; I hope it’s not expiring soon. You would never let that happen.

That period when you were sick seemed to drag on forever, and it seems to pop up in my mind all too easily. It was only two and a half years. Two and a half hellish years. And it seems like it lasted forever. But it also seemed to go by so fast. I vividly remember that day in July 2013. You had been feeling tired for a long time, but we didn’t think anything bad was happening. Nothing like this could happen to our family. We didn’t want it to. Things were normal. I was currently attending college, and I was home on summer break. I was going to graduate next year. Everything was going great, and I had just started a new summer internship a couple weeks before. But you had a doctor’s appointment that afternoon, and you went by yourself because you didn’t think it was anything serious. But it was. Your appointment was at 2:30 PM. I got off work at 4 PM and called you right away, no answer. I got in my car and started driving home, so I called you again. You picked up, and I could immediately tell something was wrong. You were quiet. You didn’t want to tell me what was wrong. You said you were on the way home and you would tell me then. I couldn’t wait. I made you tell me. I wish I hadn’t. You said you had leukemia and the doctor gave you two weeks to live. My heart sank, I didn’t believe it. I cried all the way home. It was surreal, and nobody believed the diagnosis. But it explained everything – the exhaustion, the bruising, the nosebleeds. There was finally an answer, but we didn’t want that answer. Julie was there when I got home. Dad and Nathan were home shortly after I was. Ivan & Marie were in town the next day. Everyone was in shock. Even the dogs and cats knew something was wrong because they never left your side. No one wanted this. That night was horrible, and I couldn’t sleep. I got up, and apparently you and Dad couldn’t sleep either because all the lights were on. You came back with me to my room and we cuddled in my bed. I was 21 years old, but it didn’t matter. I needed this, and I still remember that night vividly. Whenever I need reassurance about anything, I think back to that night. We cried and talked about everything. About how much you wanted to be there to see all the things in my eventual future: graduating from college, getting married, and starting a family. You wanted to be there for everything, and I wanted you there so badly. Our talk made me feel so much better and I realized that it didn’t matter where you are, because you will always be right by my side. And you are.

As I sit here writing this, I am drinking my Starbucks and looking out the window at the most beautiful sunrise; it’s all the right colors I needed to see this morning. The sky the perfect combination of blue and red, and the sun is trying to peek through the clouds. Every time I see a magnificent sunrise, I think about you. It reminds me of all the early mornings when Nathan and I would get up before the crack of dawn and drive from San Antonio to Houston to come see you. During that three-hour drive I saw some amazing sunrises, and they will always remind me of you. Not that I need a reminder, but it sure is a beautiful one.

I miss you so much and I love you. I really can’t believe that you’ve already been gone for a year, but I do know one thing: I hope that I dream about you again tonight.

 

<3,
Emily

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