August 10, 2011

In a Glass Case of Emotion

my 16th birthday, 2002

I'm getting ready to run my second half marathon on Sunday. I signed up for it the day after my first half in May and I can't believe it's already around the corner! A year ago, I was struggling to run 6 miles and here I am about to run a total of 26.2 miles in races (not all at one time, but hey, we're getting there.) It's amazing how fast time goes when you think back about where you were/who you were just one year ago. This second half marathon has special significance because it is also the day my mom would be turning 60. Such a milestone birthday that she won't be able to celebrate.

I haven't talked to many other people who have lost a parent at a young age (I was 22 when my mom passed, she was 56) so I don't know if this happens to others, but sometimes I catch myself feeling like I need to see her, like she's just someone I haven't spoken with in a long time and need to re-connect with. Or, I see something that reminds me of her and I feel the need to tell her about it: the great book I just finished or the awesome piece of furniture I came across that she would love. That's probably the hardest part about not having her around; I feel like I have so much to tell her but can’t.

I do have a lot of fond memories of my mom, but when I really reflect on those memories, they were all before I was 10 years old. I don't have any of when I was in high school or college. She died my senior year of college, yet she never came to OU once, never saw where I was living or my favorite restaurants, never met my college friends, barely met my high school friends. When I start to get sad about her, I just remember that she is in a much better place now, both for herself and for our family. As bad as this may sound, I feel like her passing when she did, too soon for any of us, was actually a small blessing. It brought my family closer together because we all suffered such a tragedy that only we can relate to. Also, I don't think it's any coincidence Ella came around when she did or that she is female. I wear my mother's engagement ring and every time I have it on, Ella plays with it.

There are many things I feel I missed out on by not having my mom around when everyone else did, and things that I will continue to miss out on. She wasn't there for my high school or college graduations. She will never meet my future husband (whoever he is..). She will never get to shop for wedding dresses with me. She will never get to see me pregnant or meet my future children. But, even if she was alive, she wouldn't be able to do those things anyway. And she has taught me many things that make me the person I am today. I don't think I would be as driven, independent, or confident if I had grown up under different circumstances.

So, instead of Sunday being a sad day, I really think it’s going to be a good time to remember all the great things about my mom and the reason that my brother and I are the funny, smart, tremendously good-looking, humble people we are today J

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