I was at work when it happened. I knew it was coming, but it didn’t make it any easier. Honestly, a lot of it was a blur. I think I was wearing this long skirt that I LOVED at the time. It was a shiny gunmetal grey, a satin-y material, and I thought it was so fancy. It was really long so I had to wear impossible high heels with it, and I remember taking my cell phone outside and having a hard time on the steps. That might not even be the right day, but rather a different phone call – the one saying she was sick, the one saying come now, the one saying it won’t be much longer.
I know I went inside to tell my boss, clocked out and gathered my things. I know Ron came to pick me up. I vaguely remember being in the passenger seat of his car and just feeling numb. We went home, and I think it was the next day that I sat on the couch in the dark of our living room and watched Tangled on repeat. I’m not sure what it was about that particular movie that brought me comfort during that time, but it still does. Riley loves it, too, and she asks to watch it sometimes, and asks me to lay with her because she knows it’s one of my favorites.
It was 2 days after my 24th birthday, just under 3 months before my wedding day. She paid for my beautiful dress, and yet she wouldn’t see me walk down the aisle in it. She really deserved to be there, to help me get dressed (although my sister Chelsea did perfectly on her own), to lend me jewelry or annoy my while I got my makeup done. It would have been amazing to see her all done up by the hand of the incredibly talented Jessica Romano, my good friend and makeup artist extraordinaire. I can just see my mom’s blue eyes popping out from her face, her dark Florida tan and curled blonde hair.
It was just about a year and a half before Riley was born. A little over 3 years before Sawyer was born. I know I’ve said it, thought it, written it a million times, but she would have loved these kids so much, so incredibly much. She loved all kids, and I can’t even fathom how much she would have cared for her own grandkids.
My mom used to lay in my bed and rub my arm when I didn’t feel good. She let me sleep in her bed when I had a recurring bad dream about Sonic the Hedgehog (no idea where that came from). She made almost every Halloween costume I ever had, and although my creations will never look as good as hers, my kids will wear homemade costumes, too. She sewed baby blankets with Precious Moments pictures. She used to sit on the couch or in her bed watching TV and sewing every night. She made them as gifts, but they were beautiful, and if Etsy had been big back then, she would have been a top-seller! She took me to see Beauty and the Beast when it came out in theaters, but The Little Mermaid was her favorite Disney movie. She loved dogs almost as much (maybe more) than she loved kids, and she worked with animals for years. She even went down to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina to save puppies. She also worked at a stable where she and my sister rode. She broke her back while riding, but she still loved it and the horses. She could ski on snow and water. She used to sit in the sink while she did her makeup. She made giant chocolate chip cookies for dessert many nights, and my family loves when I make them now. I think she ate caesar salad for most of her meals, but that’s probably my terrible memory talking. She loved my Aunt Jeri’s Rolo cookies she made at Christmas time. She drove me to cheerleading practice from when I was little through high school, even when that meant an hour drive there and double that in traffic to get home. When she was happy, she had a giant smile. I can still hear her laugh in my head if I try hard to remember. She used to try to French braid my hair for gymnastics competitions and would copy the steps out of a book. She made adorable holiday decorations that I’ve tried to replicate. My favorite was a wooden Christmas tree she made for my grandparents with all the grandkids’ names on them. She was the second oldest of four siblings, and the oldest girl. She played softball. She had beautiful, perfect handwriting. She loved the beach. She loved my sister and me. She did everything for us.
It’s really hard to remember sometimes. It’s so much easier to push the memories away than to let them overtake you and make you feel it all over again. To force upon you the fact that she’s not here, that she won’t be here. I could probably list great things about my mom for pages and pages, but it hurts.
It’s been 5 years. I miss her so much.