After washing the breakfast dishes and loading them into the dishwasher, I feel a sense of dread. I am spooked, and I know why. Without looking at the calendar or knowing what day it is, I just know. It is March 28th and I am now older than my mom was before she passed away from breast cancer at 38 years old. I still do not know exactly how I feel.
Ever since she died, I feared turning 38. I long to celebrate my 39th birthday. I am probably the rare woman who can’t wait to see forty, because my mom did not. When I turned 28 I began the mammograms and ultrasounds and blood work to keep a check on my health. As of right now, I am the only woman in my immediate family that has avoided cancer.
That C-word has taken everyone I have ever loved in my family and has threatened my younger sister three times. It is an evil and awful disease. I try to keep eating right but struggle with hat. I lost my svelte figure when my youngest daughter stopped liking the stroller. I gave up on me constantly. Until this moment.
While I will not be vigilant and absorb every health plan, I will look for balance. Life is too short. For my heart is telling me I need to work more on my goals, my dreams. It will honor my mother and leave a legacy for my children.
Many motherless daughters swing through emotions of living longer than their mothers: guilt of living longer to a sense of relief that they ‘made it.’ I do feel the power to make my life right like she was not given the time to do.
I walk into the hallway where my mom’s smiling face is looking at me from the picture frame. I whisper to her that I understand so much more now. I will make her proud, so when we meet again she can tell me how proud she is of me. All of a sudden I feel ten years old again and was just told she died. It is 28 years later, and the hole in my heart when she left is still there. I will continue to treat her granddaughters like she treated me. I will work on a ‘bucket list.’ I never knew her list.
I quickly turn my tears into a sniffle when my daughters come running up to me. I will still fear that one day I might be taken from them too soon. But then again, anyone who has lost a parent no matter the age will say it was too soon.
I love you Mommy, more than a million oceans.
4 thoughts on “I Am Older than My Mother”
Wonderful post, Danielle! Your spirit and love are so strong, for your mom, your children, and most of all, for yourself. Live on and well. It’s great that you are marking this day in memory of your mother and for your own life’s goals.
You should celebrate your luck and your health. Treat yourself well, love yourself. That’s how you will be there for your family. Your mother is with you on your birthday, and every day!
“More than a million oceans” takes me right back to your amazing book. Biggest hugs. A beautiful post.
Celebrate and Happy Birthday I’m sure your mother is smiling widely and wishing you the happiest of days.