The wrinkles in her face told a story of a lifetime truly lived. They asked the 100 year old the secret to her longevity. I snickered to myself. Secret, huh? One can run five miles a day and watch what they eat for years and years, yet fall over at a young age. One can smoke two packs of cigarettes and live a tough, hard life, yet live to be 100. We have no idea what tomorrow holds. Somehow in my mind I sat pondering this as I stared out the window. It seems like a game. It's a game of dodgeball dodging life as it is thrown at you. One day you look around and somehow you are still standing. It's like an obstacle course where you keep running and running and one day you look around and you are still running when so many others have quit the race.
Every year I sit down to write about Mom. It's been 13 years. Sometimes I think it's time to stop writing about it. It does not define me. Somehow I decide each year I have to share my thoughts or they just sit in my mind spewing around me. Truthfully in my heart I think at times it's just milking every little ounce of anything I have left of her. If I don't write, if I don't think, will she forever be gone? Will anyone remember her? I get angry with myself when I cannot remember things. She was with me for 19 years, yet my mind blocks these parts out and she becomes this figure just standing in my imagination. She is no longer real this way and it is quite easy. Then I will dream of her and she is real again. I will hear a story that makes me remember her. Everything in my life has changed since that day and yes, it is a good thing. We have an entirely different family surrounding us and all I can say, it's a God thing. We got a second chance. It doesn't mean we forget the first chance. It means we take the blessing and run with it. My stepmother truly thinks of me as a daughter. How lucky am I? How lucky is my Dad that he has someone to love him so much? Sometimes I worry if the blessing is so great she begins to fade.
I hear others speak of their great great grandmothers still alive. I pause and wonder how they are winning the race. I feel a bit envious, but just shut my eyes to it. I remember my blessings then tell them for a minute just to let my heart feel. I got married without my mother standing beside me. Yes, I have a stepmother and amazing people all around me, and on that day I was not sad without her. I was fine because they were all around me. I had a tough year wanting her there. Everyone was helping, but I know she would have wanted to be doing all of those things. Again, shut my eyes to it. Run.
Monday night I was catapulted back to that Monday, the 26th. Ouch. A young 19 year old. My mother was young at age 48. I didn't realize just how young that was at the time. The dodgeball game didn't seem to be in full effect. How did the ball knock her out? Everything in one instant went black. Everything we knew was thrown into the air. The night air felt the same. The darkness engulfed me. That day I felt nothing. I was lost. I was numb. To others I tell them that might be the best place to be in loss. You are so numb it is as if life means nothing at that very moment. You are crawling.
We don't know when we will quit the race. She quit too soon. As I grow older I realize her true legendary status as a teacher and realize maybe she will never fade away in the minds of others. She was a hero to so many around her so it does not have to be only on the shoulders of my family. I'm not good with love and I try to love in my own way. Meaning I know there is this game of life going on and I know at any moment they can fall. I know family and friends are precious. My mom was a lot stronger than me as she loved with her heart on her sleeve. She hugged and she loved. The game goes on no matter what. We keep playing, we keep loving. We run past the obstacles. We dodge the balls. The wrinkles become our medals. We run together knowing we are truly blessed to know each one whether they fall or whether they run until they are 100. Blessed beyond measure to live. Blessed beyond measure to have known someone like her. Blessed even more that God chose her as my mother. We keep running.