I woke up this morning feeling restless, unsettled, and quite disturbed from my dreams the night before. I sat down with my large cup of Chai Tea and started responding to emails. Then in an instant I was crying uncontrollably as my mind put together all the signs. Last night when I walked into my bedroom there was a heavy cigarette smoke lingering in the air. I don’t smoke. I said nonchalantly – Hi Mom! Coming to say hello and watch me sleep? My mother was a smoker and when I smell that burnt tobacco scent out of the blue, I know it is her looking in on me. Then I strangely remember drinking a Budweiser beer in my dream. I hate Bud and am not a fan of American lagers. They were her favorite. Then the date hit me like a ton of bricks – August 2, 2018. It has been 20 years since my mother died. Today is the day I dread all year, I hate this day.
Disclosure: This post not only speaks from a place of vulnerability, but also has Affiliate Links that I earn commissions from. This is how I make a living and keep this little blog running. Thank you for supporting me! I appreciate it. Much love, Kristi.
If you haven’t read Turn the Page, I recommended pausing here and reading it otherwise this post may not make since. I also wrote 44 – I’m Afraid of You that talks about how I’ve been afraid to turn 44 for the past 24 years, as it is the age that my mother died. Those two posts set the stage for this post, A Letter to My Mother: Against the Wind.
A Letter to My Mother
It’s funny how you remember the little things… the scent of someone, the way they would smile when doing something they were passionate about, the sound of their laugh that bubbled up from their belly. The way they would hold you so tight in the most awkwardest, amazing hugs ever. Those were your hugs, Mom! Awkward and awesome all rolled into one.
I loved watching you draw ~ your smile said it all. Follow your passions and you will find your purpose.
You never had any money, yet you showed your love for me and Ricky in other ways. When we were in college, you would do our laundry and send us back to the dorms with Tupperwares full of chicken enchiladas, hearty soups, and fresh-baked cookies along with clean, folded clothes. I remember you using your food stamp money to buy us food while we were studying for finals. I didn’t understand it then, but looking back, I am so grateful for those memories of your love of cooking and sharing your yummy food with us even when we were adults.
I wonder sometimes why your life was so difficult. You made a few poor choices that consumed your life. You could never escape the grasp that alcohol had on you. Would you have though if you had lived through that night so long ago? Or would you have fought that demon every damn day of your life?
It’s been twenty years now, where did the time go? I sit and I wonder sometimes where have the years gone? Who would you have been at 64? Then reflecting internally, who am I at 44? It’s hard to admit that I’m grateful that you are no longer in pain and released from this hell you knew on Earth. Then other selfish times, I wish I had my mother here to hold me and tell me everything will be all right.
I love this picture of my mom with my older brother Ricky.
I have struggled a lot lately with where I am in life. I feel like I am one disaster away from being homeless on the streets, having to repeat the trials and tribulations of my mother. I think subconsciously I make poor decisions to mirror your life. I mean, how could I do it consciously? Why would I want to struggle the way you did, the way I feel I struggle all the damn time now.
When I look at my life through my own lens I wonder if I have made my parents proud of me. I flirt with success, then let it fall through my fingertips every time it is so close. I knew great success in my 20s and have felt I have gone downhill ever since. Which is ridiculous if you look at what I’ve done in the last 5 years, mom – I traveled the US solo, built a subscription box, am a semi-successful writer, and published my first coloring book this year based off of my photos.
I’m not married and don’t have any children, which isn’t exactly normal in our family. What would you think of that mom, if you were here now? Would I be a failure in your eyes because I never gave you grandchildren? Writing that question just brought fresh tears to my eyes.
In life, I have always felt like I was against the wind. Did you feel this way all the time, too? I wish you were here, I have so many questions. I want to know why you did what you did. Would you choose differently if you could go back in time. If you had made different decisions, what kind of person would I be today? Would you still be alive?
I thought 20 years after your death day, I would be closer to the answers of life. Yet, they still feel so far out of reach. I try to honor your memory and think of the good times. I don’t like to sit in the memories that shake me to my core. I cry every time I think of how you died. I feel so guilty I wasn’t there in your last hours. Then I smile remembering you on the back of a Harley with a bandana holding down your hair as you rolled down the road with Bob Seger blaring from the radio. I can still hear you say, Mercy in that guttural tone you had for your favorite word.
Another Letter to My Mother
I’ve missed you every day for 20 years. I will miss you the rest of the days of my life. Look in on me and Ricky from time-to-time, we always know when you are nearby.
Did you see Ricky is racing BMX bikes again? He is so good! He’s been winning and has a sick-looking black bike (that means awesome these days) and this orange one too. He is happy doing what he loves. I’m so proud of him! He takes amazing photos of city art and captures snippets of time with his lens, he is such a talented photographer. He was promoted this year to Director of Earth, Wind, and Fire! He has been to more countries than I can count and has the traveling bug too. He brings back souvenirs from his travels and spoils all of us. You would be proud of the man he has become. He’s a good man, Mom.
I too have a wanderlust heart. I live in Alaska now and love everything about being outdoors. Well, except the mosquitos, I don’t love those. My heart is happiest when I’m out fishing with friends, taking in the sunset over glaciers, and experiencing a life I never knew I always wanted. I’m still searching for security and stability in life, those will come though. I have a puppy I love who makes life a little less lonely. We won’t even talk about my allergies, which I have found, are strangely similar to the ones you had. I never did became a scientist or a doctor, but rather I’m a writer… I don’t think you would surprised by that though. I too love the camera and capture landscapes and wildlife photos. I love to garden and feel the soil in my hands while watching my little seeds grow big and tall. I’m a strong, independent woman, Mom. I live a life against the wind, that is for certain. My life now is wild and free and a little less ordinary than other’s. I try every day to live the life of my dreams and as my dreams change, so do I. I hope I have become the woman you thought I would when I was just a little girl.
I miss you and love you with all of my heart.
PS – here is your first fur grand baby, Porter Storm. That tongue kills me!