It's been nearly 17 years since my mom passed away from breast cancer.
In that time, there hasn't been a time where she hasn't been on my mind.
It is heartbreaking to have to lose a parent - let alone at such a young age. In hindsight, it's an event that has shaped me more than I'd like to admit. Much of what I've done for the last decade and a half has been because of my mother's death.
That's why this year the anniversary of her death has been so confusing. When you structure your life around the goals and expectations of someone who no longer exists, what do you do when you complete them?
One of my mom's final wishes was for her children to get an education like she had. Specifically, the type of post-graduate education that I now possess.I have a job in a field I love, another wish of hers. I've established myself and am living on my own which was another of her goals for me.
So what's next?
For the first time I can honestly say I don't know. I've always had my course charted out for me.
But maybe it's a good thing that I don't have a clear direction. It gives me a clean slate. That doesn't mean I have an easy road ahead of me but it might give me a lighter load as I go.
I'll leave you with a poem I wrote two years ago on the 15th anniversary of my mother's death.
You left me in the early mourning
Five years now
And then ten more
Not for the faded flowers gray
Nor for the days abandoned since
But for a future that could have been,
Now lost to the passage of time
The future holds no more
Than the path it has set aside
The course has been plotted,
The goal laid in,
Rose shaped and jewel-small
It has been too long
Since I saw you last,
And your face fades from my memory
But I remember that final day
You read to me
“I will go with thee
And be your guide,
In thy most need to go
By your side,”
On some sunny days
I see you still,
In the future ahead.