Sunday, November 1st I will turn 31 years old! This is something I am struggling with more than I thought I would. Not at all for reasons you might think. It isn't because I am older. I actually enjoy getting older (at least so far) as each year offers something new and I am finding each year to be more meaningful than the last as I learn how to appreciate where I am.
My struggle stems from my mother's death. I am becoming increasingly aware that I am inching up on the age my own mom was when she took her own life. As a mom who has lost her mom, I have battled the fear of death for quite some time. Not really fear of death so much as fear of dying and leaving my kids without their mom. I know what it is like to grow up without my mom and I do not want that for my kids. So for several years I have found that I tend to run to the doctor and panic over every single pain thinking the worst.
I am two years from the age my mother was when she died. That is so strange and surreal for me. I can't really describe it, but my heart sinks when I think of it. I think partly because I look at myself and see maybe a little more of her in me and my mothering and marriage than I might like and yet not. She was a great mom. She obsessed and tried to be the PERFECT wife and mom and while some might see that as a positive, it ultimately lead to her demise. I sometimes have to stop myself when I get crazed with anxiety over my own perfectionism.
I think the other part stems from I can see so clearly what she missed. She was so caught up in putting on the perfect front that I think she often missed the moment right in front of her. I am trying so hard not to do that. I am trying to embrace each day and moment with my kids. She died in January of 1988. I was in third grade. She missed EVERY single thing from that moment on and I from that moment had to learn to survive without her. I no longer had a parent who was involved in my schooling, a room parent. She missed every school party, every concert, game, graduation, dance, boyfriend, break up, college, engagement, wedding, and grandchild. I grew up fast, faster than I ever wanted to and have harbored much resentment toward both of my parents. My mom for deserting me, and my dad for checking out in his own grief.
I sit here today, two days from thirty one and I look back at the past thirty one years. There has been so much pain and also so much joy. As I reflect on the past five years especially I can only be grateful that I have found hope and love in my Heavenly Father. I am broken and yet so grateful for all I have been given. Because of my losses, I can see more clearly. I know more fully what kind of mother, wife and woman of God I want to be and what kind I don't want to be.
The past thirty one years haven't been easy that is for sure, but I am so thankful for each and every one of them. Though it still hurts to live without her, I am thankful I can learn from my own mother's mistakes and not follow the same path she did. So I may be one year closer to the age my mother was when she fell ill, but I do not have to follow the same path. I pray that the Lord continues to direct my path and that I am able to be obedient and follow Him to become the Woman, Wife and Mommy he wants me to be.