Today marks nine years without you. It’s true that as time passes some details fade, but what I have found to be more true is that passing years bring clarity to who you were.
When we were together, I saw your confidence. When I had to start making decisions without you, I began to understand that your confidence was earned. You had to carve a path and brave making choices without perfect outcomes. I stopped mistaking your confidence for an absence of fear – you chose to move forward through fear because that is how you grow and make a good life.
When we were together, I felt the safety of your hugs. When I held my first baby, I knew how your heart felt. The love and the overwhelm, and everything ahead of us. The instinct to protect. It all made sense that day, Mom. When I saw that tiny face looking up at me I saw you, truly, for the first time.
When we were together, I saw the ease with which you cared for your flock. When I had to find the energy to carry on without you, I saw that extending yourself had been a choice. Your life demanded things of you, mentally, emotionally, and physically, just like anyone else’s. But you never used it as an excuse not to see those around you. When I find myself curled up and wishing that this was not mine to carry, I see you seeing others, because we all have something to carry.
I wish I could touch your face; feel those warm hugs; hear you say “Nellers” in that way you did. But I see you. You gave me gifts that I will slowly unwrap throughout the rest of my life, and I anticipate knowing you more fully with each one. I love you Mom, I will miss you every day, always.