I like to think that I am that box of crayons that John Mayer talked about. I mean, I like all of the colors in the box, so does that mean I am that box of crayons? At this point I’m wondering why I’m comparing myself to a box of crayons! Seriously though, I believe that I am vibrant and full of life. I have what anyone could hope for. I have a home that I own with my husband, we have a beautiful son together, we own 2 vehicles, have 2 dogs (sound like we need that white picket fence), I will graduate from college this year with my teaching degree (finally), my husband will graduate in 2 years with his degree and I’ve gotten closer to my husbands parents, which sometimes takes the sting out of my own loss.
What loss you ask? I lost my mother when I was 14 years old to cancer. Looking back I don’t know that I really “dealt” with it appropriately. But how do you do that? Counseling? Medication? Hoping you wake up from the terrible nightmare that you think you’re in? I dunno. I feel guilty talking about it sometimes. Like I should be over it by now. It’s been almost 12 years. Or that someone else has probably gone through much worse than me, so I should be thankful. Don’t get me wrong, I am forever grateful for my life now, but I’ll be honest, I miss having my mom. I’m so jealous of the relationships I see others having with their mothers. I have a fantastic mother in law, but there is nothing like the love, hugs and kisses from ones own mother.
I was lucky enough to have a 2nd mother. At least that’s what I believe her to be in my heart. Her name was Patricia. She was my aunt. When my mother was diagnosed with cancer, she asked me if something were to happen to her, where would I want to live. My young mind automatically went to my Aunt Pat. Why? She lived 7 miles (give or take) from the beach!! From the moment my mother passed away, my aunt and uncle stepped in to take care of me. This couple was well on their way to happy retirement days (she is the oldest sister of my grandmother) and here they were taking in a “stray”. “That’s what family does”. I know. I’ve heard it before. I sometimes wonder if they had a crystal ball to see what their life would be like with me during my teenage years, would they have still taken me in?!
My aunt was never an overly emotional lady. She got that from my great grandfather. It wasn’t until I was in my 20’s did she ever tell me she loved me. Even though she didn’t say it or shower me with hugs and kisses like my own mother did, I knew she cared for me. My first summer with her was just a few short days after my mother passed. We went to the Outer Banks in North Carolina. It was a tradition in her family, with her children, grandchildren and husband, to spend a week there every summer. I had never been. I was hooked the minute we crossed that bridge into Kitty Hawk and headed down to Nags Head.
From then on, I was hers. Of course we had our moments and sometimes they were severe, but I loved her. You couldn’t help but love her. She came to every choral concert I had, supported me through high school and then the many years I’ve spent in college. She sat in her living room and listened to me perform my “concerts”. I was really singing back up to my favorite artists. Aaaahhh the dreams I had! She washed my clothes, vaccumed my floor, made sure I ate dinner (at the kitchen table with them) every night, helped me study for my drivers license, bought my clothes, drove me to my afterschool jobs, listened to me when I came to her crying about whatever new boy had just broken my heart. She was even there when I moved out because I didn’t want to live with her rules anymore. She stood by me as I tried on my wedding gown in the bridal shop. She told me I was beautiful as she helped me with it on my wedding day. She laughed when I told her I was going to have a baby because to her this meant she would have another “grandchild”. She held her “boyfriend” every chance she got when he finally came into this world. She loved me. She loved him. When she was diagnosed with terminal cancer she tried to comfort me by saying that there was nothing that could have changed her lifes path. She was grateful for what she had been given. She told me that she wished things would have been different with my mother and that I wouldn’t have had to go through losing her, but she got me and that made her happy. She looked up at my husband and told him to take good care of me. He scolded her by saying “stop talking like this is the last time you will see her! She’ll be her tomorow!” He cried as soon as we got in the car.
It was incredibly hard watching her die in the same way that my mom did. Her kids took amazing care of her. Gave her her medications every 3-4 hours, stayed up with her, bathed her, clothed her, the list goes on and on. I went over quite a bit to spend time with her. I brushed her hair, rubbed lotion on her hands, brought my son up to her room to visit. He looked at her and babbled. She at this point didn’t really realize we were there. I even got into her hospital bed with her and watched the Lawrence Welk show. Well, I told her what was going on. Out of all of the memories I have of my aunt this one is the most clear and my most heartbreaking favorite. She had gotten to the point where she did not make a lot of sense and she would go in and out of sleep. I laid with her in her bed the day all of her brothers and sisters came to visit. It was just me and her. I sobbed with my arm around her. I couldn’t stand losing another woman that was so wonderful. Why was all of this happening?! I was so angry. She rubbed my arm and quietly said “ssshhh, ssshhh, ssshhh, it’s ok. Don’t cry.” That old woman made everything worse!! I LOOOOOSSSST it even harder. I could hardly breathe. I told her that I loved her. She said she loved me too. She loved me. She really loved me.
Not everyone is lucky enough to say that they have had two great mothers in their lives. I am one of the lucky ones. If I could tell her children one thing, it would be thank you. Thank you for allowing me to come into your lives, into her life. Thank you for letting her love me the way she did. She was an amazing woman. I think she was the epitome of the 64 color box of crayons.
I sit here with tears streaming down my face looking at my son sleep. He is the most amazing little person. He’s so beautiful and smart already. He makes me smile and laugh when I’m having a terrible day. He enhances my life and makes it better. I am saddened by my thoughts of him not being able to grow up with her and my mother. He will know them by my stories and pictures and when they come to him in his dreams. Being a mother is the best gift. They taught me that.