contributed by Stacy Sollin
first published 12/14/15 on her blog Present In This Moment
Everything happened so fast. From the time you got sick until the time you passed. Our time together. Your time here on Earth. Your life. It feels like you were gone in an instant. And then that was it. And we went through the motions of planning your memorial service. Having you cremated. Picking out an urn. Writing your obituary. Picking out songs that you liked, that brought a smile to your face, and made us think of you. I thought about writing your eulogy then, but had no idea how I could. It was all so surreal. Writing your eulogy and speaking at your memorial service would make it real. How could this nightmare possible be real? And I wasn't ready for that. I'm still not. And I don't know if you can read this or see or feel this in some way, shape, or form, but I want to do this for you. And I'm sorry that I couldn't do it at your service.
I don't know how to write this, but there are a lot of things I don't know now that she's gone. I don't know how to explain it - it's just like there's this empty space now. I want this to be the perfect tribute to her, but I fear it won't be. I want to share every single detail about how special she was to me and to the world, but I know I'll miss something and what I remember to share, won't be enough.
I don't know that she knew or realized how special she was. How great of a mom and a friend she was. How she could light up a room, how her laugh was loved, how much her smile was appreciated, how much her presence could warm hearts, and how much she was loved by so many, especially her family. Her heart was so beautiful. It is indescribable how kind and caring she was. Every creature on Earth had a place in her heart and she wished no harm onto anyone or anything.
Mom was a strong and beautiful woman and her family was the center of her universe. Her love for us was fierce and unending, unconditional, and so patient. The way she loved me and my brother was incredible. Always patient with us and cared for us so well. The only time we seem to remember her patience wearing thin was a particular time she was making apple pie and we always reminded her of that. I think it was the crust that was the problem. I just remember steering clear of the kitchen for awhile and I definitely don't remember having apple pie at any point later in that day.
She was the perfect Mom. She was the perfect balance of everything - fun, discipline, joking, serious, everything. What a beautiful childhood and life I had thanks to her. My early memories are so precious to me because I was able to spend so much time with her. She was my first best friend. She was a stay at home Mom while I was a little one and I have countless memories of our days together. She was SO fun. We would watch our morning Nick Jr. shows together in the mornings and she would sing all the songs with me. We would play the organ together and sing along. I remember countless adventures out and about - we would walk to the library, the bakery for long john donuts, the V&S Variety store, and sometimes, we would go and "waste our money at Alco". And of course, I can't forget to mention the approximate one million times we probably watched Dirty Dancing together and I made her do the lift with me. She wasn't afraid to try new things with us either. One summer we got a 'Crocodile Mile Water Slide' and she didn't hesitate to give it a try. She did, however, hesitate to try it a second time.
As I grew older, very little in our relationship changed. She was still my best friend. She was still the person I knew I could turn to and always trust, who I could speak to without judgement, who loved me unconditionally and whom I loved unconditionally as well. She knew me better than anyone else. We still spent time together; trips to Aberdeen or Watertown, errands around town, adventures to Minneapolis as I got ready to leave for college, and just mundane time together together at home.
She was always willing to go up to bat for us. If our feelings had been hurt, she was always more than willing to 'bitch slap' someone for us. It made us roll our eyes with love (like grown kids do) and laugh, but it was always appreciated when she asked if it was needed. It was her Momma Bear coming out, saying, "don't mess with my kids!".
Mom loved music and I can attribute my oldies knowledge all to her. So many memories with her have a soundtrack of music on the radio. And her love for music was beyond the sound and the beat; she fell in love with songs because of the words. She always found the story in the song and perhaps that was why she was so passionate about having a copy of any song that she liked. Often times when I was home for a weekend, she would have a list of songs that she needed help finding on the internet so she could download them and listen to them whenever she desired. Another one of those things that would make me roll my eyes with love, but damn, I would give anything to have another afternoon with her, helping her search the internet for songs she could only remember a few words to.
The mind is an awful grief support - it still hits like a ton of bricks that she's gone. There are days where it literally feels like I had amnesia and suddenly remember this awful, devastating fact. I have missed her for 365 days now - not a day has passed that I haven't thought of her. Some days the memory comes and it just lingers in my mind and I make it through the day okay, but more often than not it comes with the most ginormous lump in my throat and pain in my heart that makes it feel like my world is standing still again.
Everyone once in awhile, I'll hear myself and realize that I sound just like her. It surprises me and makes me smile and breaks my heart at the same time. As time goes on, I realize that I am my Mother, something that we often joke about not wanting to happen. I've made that joke myself, but couldn't be more proud that I am her. She carried me into this world and gave me life; I have heard her heart beat from the inside. Her physical presence was my comfort for the first years of my life. Parts of me are parts of her - my soft heart, my sensitivity, my spirit, my intuition, the way I talk, and the way I laugh. And as I am 9 months pregnant with my first child, a little girl, I know that in the days, months, and years to come, I will see more and more of her in me and us, our relationship, in this next chapter of my life. I can only hope that I give my children the life and love that she gave me. That I am as patient as her and as fun and carefree as her. That my heart and smile are as warm as hers were for me. That they never question my unconditional love for them, as I never questioned her unconditional love for me. That they can find a best friend in me, just like I found my first and lifelong best friend in her.
Momma, I hope you're at peace and happy, free of pain and suffering. That where ever you are is greater and more beautiful than anything you ever imagined. You're so loved and so missed here on Earth. I hope you know that you were a perfect Mom to us and I can't thank you enough for everything you did for me. I hope that we're reunited some day, but that in the mean time that I'll feel your presence eventually.