The final realization
Readers Post As Received:
Hi Jake…I have read through each comment, blog, and story on your page, mostly because I wanted to understand what this page really was about. I understand what you are doing now, and even though Jake is a made up character in order to give those grieving or with a loss of loved ones somewhere to share our stories, I think that it is great that you are doing that, and that you created this page, and created Jake. I wanted to share my story with you, and I hope that it will help someone to know that they are not alone. If Jake were real, I would want him to give my Mom the biggest, warmest, hug ever in the history of hugs, and tell her that the hug came straight from her Pooh bear’s heart! Then I would ask that you give my “Nanny”, the same hug, and tell her it’s from her favorite granddaughter. Then I would want you to give my “PaPa”, my brother, and my Great Grandma & Great Grandpa that same big hug! Then there’s my real dad’s dad, my Grandpa (that I never met), and all of my other relatives, past, that I heard of, but never knew, but that knew me, and have watched over me through my life, I would want you to give them a big hug for me too! You’d be all hugged out by now, Jake! But I loved each one of them, in different ways, but loved them very much, none the less. I have more family on the “Other side” then I have here with me, so I think about them and the “other side” a lot. I honestly don’t think that they are sad, or in pain, and I don’t think they actually left me, instead I think that they are just with me in a different way, a way that I can’t see or understand, but yet, still with me. All of that does not stop me from missing them though, and I mean missing them everyday!
I want to talk about my Mom though, because I think that my experience may be able to help someone else. I was 19 when my Mom, who was only 36, passed away from cancer. I am in my early 40′s now, and I have lived longer without my Mom than I lived with her here, but I honestly didn’t realize how much I loved my Mom until after she was gone. Living with out her has been the hardest experience of my life. My Mom had me at 17, and she made a lot of mistakes, experimenting with drugs, alcohol, and just living a wild life on the edge, before I was born. After I was born my Mom went on to graduate from Law School, and served on the house of representatives in my home state, she fought in the ERA movement for women, and in the civil rights movement, she dabbled in journalism, and eventually joined the military as an enlisted aircraft mechanic, and then later, graduated as an officer in the military, and served her country in many different vital areas. Despite her earlier mistakes in her teen yrs, she was a stunningly beautiful, brilliant, honest, funny, strong, independent, loving, free spirited woman, who believed that she could change the world! She raised me to be like that, as well! She showed me so much in such a short lifetime, that I am still in awe of her! The sad part is, that I didn’t realize it until after she was gone, many years after she was gone.
When I was growing up, she was completely honest with me about her life, her mistakes, and everything that she had experienced, tried, and did…I mean everything, the good, the bad, and the ugly! But, instead of respecting her for her openness and honesty, I simply felt that her experience gave me a license to do the same things she had done, and the belief that since she had survived it all, and triumphed, that I would too! I just wanted to be free, the way that I saw her live her life, and I didn’t want to follow rules of any kind, especially her rules. So, because of this, me and my Mom constantly butted heads, argued, and even fought. I dropped out of high school, and moved out at 16. I kept in touch with her mostly by phone, but I never went back home to live. Two years after I moved out, and left her to raise my 2 younger sisters, and a younger brother, with no help, I got a call that she was diagnosed with cancer. She went through chemo, and got really sick, and I went back home here and there to help out, but it never sunk in what was really happening to her. She found out she had cancer in Dec. 1988, in April 1989 she went into remission, and then, unexpectedly, just two months later, in June 1989, she passed away. It all happened so quick, I didn’t think for a minute that she would really die.
I have comfort, in that, when I visited her in the hospital a few days before she passed away, I was able to share with her, that I was sorry for acting so crazy all those years, and that I had gotten my GED, and that I had left my boyfriend of 3 yrs. (that she didn’t like, because she knew all along that he was no good for me, and believe me, she was right!) She was at peace with dying, or at least that’s what she told us. I had asked her how she was okay with leaving us here alone, and she said that the Lord had spoken to her and promised her that He would take care of each one of us, every day of our lives, that He would never leave us, and that we would all be okay. I didn’t understand her words then, but I never forgot them, and 24 yrs later, I can say that I truly believe that the Lord must have actually spoken to, and promised my Mom that, because despite everything that we have gone through, me and my siblings are all grown now, and God has taken care of each one of us, everyday of our lives, He has never left us, and we are all okay, actually we are all better than okay, we are all doing good! Praise God! I didn’t realize how right my Mom was about everything she had ever said, and ever told me, until I had my own kids, (I had my first son in 1992) and that’s when I began to truly appreciate my Mom,and desperately miss her! That’s also when I began to feel real guilt, guilt that would tear me up inside for many, many years to come. The guilt of not realizing how important she was when she was here, the guilt of not realizing how much she loved me while she was alive, guilt that I hadn’t shown her my love while she was with me, guilt that I had spent so many years rebelling, stressing her out, and giving her hell. It’s ironic, because I had actually thought my Mom was old when she died…until I was her age, and then I realized how young she really was! I have spent many, many years crying, regretting, praying, and asking for forgiveness from God, but also crying out to my Mom in hopes that she hears me, and she forgives me. I used to cry out to God that He please give me my Mom back to me, and please take the pain and guilt I felt, away from me. I’d say to God, “people say that you can’t do that, but you are God, you can do anything!”
Then, my last child, my daughter, was due on Jan. 29, which was the day that my Nanny & PaPa both died on (in different years), but she came early, God gave her to me on Dec. 29, which was my Mom ‘s & my Nanny’s (my Mom’s Mom) birthday as well (but of course, both of them had passed away before my daughter was born). It had been 10 1/2 yrs since my Mom passed, when my youngest daughter was born. On that day, I felt that God gave me what I had cried out to Him for so long for. He had given my Mom back to me, and He had taken away my pain. You see, Dec. 29 had always been a very sad day, a hard day to deal with, because it was my Mom’s birthday, and yet she wasn’t here to celebrate with, but when He gave me my daughter on that same day, He turned my sadness into the most joyful day of my life! Of course, I don’t truly know if He gave my Mom back to me, but it sure felt that way, and I am eternally grateful! Lately, I have learned to quiet my mind, and sit in silence, and in that silence I can sometimes hear my Mom, feel her presence, and see signs that she is still with me. I have dreams, in which, we are together, and she talks to me, and when I wake, I feel like I was actually, physically with her. It has been a long, hard journey for me since she died, and I still would love to have the opportunity to do it all over again, because I would love her, cherish her, and respect her the way that I do now, only I would do it while she was alive. I can say with confidence, not proof, but confidence, that I know that my Mom hasn’t left me, she still watches over me and her grandkids, I know that she has forgiven me for everything, probably immediately after each thing I did, or said, (because I’m a Mom now, and I know that’s what Mom’s do!)
I know that my Mom still loves me very much, I know that my Mom was a great person, she raised us the best she could with the resources she had available, I know that she couldn’t have done a better job, I’m convinced of that, and I am So proud of the way she loved me, the way that she taught me to be, and to believe. Although it took a very long time, I have finally learned to forgive myself, and I have tried to be the best parent I know how, in order to honor my Mom. I spend every moment I can with my children, I forgive them when they do wrong, and I constantly tell them, hug them, and show them that they are loved. I have taught them many things that my Mom taught me, such as, love, forgiveness, independence, freedom, and strength. Losing my Mom gave me a different outlook on being a parent than many people I know, mostly it helped me to realize what is really important in life…it is not your status, your job, or the amount of money, and things that you possess, it is about the time you share together, the memories you make together, the love you show one another…in the end, this is what will matter to the ones you leave here….this is what will REALLY matter! So, please love one another while you still have the chance, and forgive everything while they are still here, most of us will not know what day will be their last day, or even what will be our last day, so make every day count, spend time with your loved ones, don’t make excuses anymore, don’t put money, jobs, possessions, and things, that will be irrelevant in the end, before them…Love them, and show them your love, and hug them with all your might, everyday, so that when they are gone you will have no regrets, and you will not have to live with the Monster, named, Guilt, that I lived with for over twenty years…
Jake, please, when you do cross over to the “other side”, please tell my Mom all the words that I have poured out of my heart onto your page today, tell her that when I talk to her, I sure hope she can hear me, tell her that I miss her every breath, tell her to keep watching over us, because we need angels like her in this big, mean world, and tell her not to ever let go of me, because one day we will be together again! Oh, and don’t forget to give her that super big hug! Thank you Jake for reading my story, and for giving all of us somewhere to share with others who have also felt the loss of a loved one! And if for some reason, I make it to the “other side” before you, I will make sure to tell your loved ones of the goodness that you are doing for others here! ~ CT
You are not alone in feeling you didn’t appreciate or love someone enough while they were here. Many of us have experienced that and all we can do is try to learn from it and loved the ones that are here more. To make sure they know they matter and are loved.