On the evening of August 2nd, 2016, my mother breathed her final breath. And with it so ended the life of the woman who carried me, bore me, raised me, and released me into this great, wild world.
In the year since her passing I’ve come to understand a few key things.
Firstly, she wasn’t perfect and that’s okay. Because humans can’t be. It’s not possible. Even if they are our mothers.
Secondly, she loved me. Not always in the way I needed and not always when I needed, but she loved me. I think maybe more than even she could comprehend. And I loved her.
Third, we understood each other better than anyone will ever realize. In her final months especially she courageously showed me her soul, flaws and all, and she trusted me to love those parts of her anyways. And I did. And she allowed me to do the same.
And lastly, she was what I had. She existed. And that’s a lot more than a lot of people get. She wasn’t always what I wanted, but I would not be who I am today if not for her. Both intentionally and unintentionally she taught me to be independent, fearless, smart, and strong. Before she passed she kissed me and whispered, “Keep being my brave lion girl.”
For a year my life has been less full, less glamorous, less colorful, and yes, less dramatic. For better or worse, she was mine. My mother. My mama. And without her, my heart aches. It misses her. It always will.
How we made it through this last year, I’ll never know. Sometimes I thought the grief would swallow me up. But, it didn’t. Because I kept hearing her voice inside my head. “…my brave lion girl.” She wanted me to be brave. And so, I will be. For her. For me.
I love you, Mama. I’ll see you soon.