What It’s Like When You’ve Lived Longer Without Someone You Love Than You Did With Them



My mom passed away when I was nine. It was sudden and tragic and unforeseeable.

There was a week of grieving family members, sympathetic friends, and seas of flowers which finally ended with an emotional funeral.

And while I did cry and begged her to come back, I don’t think I ever truly understood the loss I suffered.

Almost ten years has passed, and I have lived longer without her than I have with her. The memo-ries are starting to fade – as hard as I try I can’t hear her voice in my head anymore – and although I hate to admit it, sometimes it feels like she was never here.

At times it feels like I’m not even mourning her. Rather, I mourn the life I could have had with her and the person I would have been if she was still here.

Losing someone that close to you is extremely painful, and there is no doubt that I’m not the only one who has experienced such agony. But I believe what’s even more painful than losing someone is the feeling that you can’t even remember the time when you’ve loved that person.

I know I loved her, and I know I still do. But there are times when I ask myself, “How do you love someone who you don’t even truly remember?”

I knew her as my mother, but never as a person. We never got the chance to talk about petty girl or whether she disliked how she looked as teenager. I will never know if she ever had her heart broken by a boy she thought she’d marry or which subjects she enjoyed most while in high school.

It’s because of this that often times I see her the way you would see a saint or a historical figure. Someone important who once lived in this world but is no longer here.

The best and worst feeling is when a family member or friend points out a characteristic that I share with her – the way I laugh, the way I smile, the way I cry. It makes me happy to know I inherently do things the way she did – I feel more like her daughter this way. But it hurts me because no matter how long and hard I rummage through my brain I can’t remember the way she laughed or smiled or cried.

This is what I mourn for now, what I weep over when I’m alone in my room and the feelings come rushing back. The fact that I do not know my own mother and never will. How I cannot tell anyone what it was like when she was around and why I love her for no other than the fact that she was my mother.

I can’t tell you I love the way she used to sing the songs I played on the piano or the way she used to kiss me goodbye every morning before I left for school because while I know all this from stories, I don’t remember ever loving the way she did these things.

And I envy those who do remember – her friends, her extended family, her parents, my dad – be-cause while it might hurt to recall these memories, I’d much rather have memories to recall.

I love my mother.

I know I do.

I just wish I could remember why.

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