I'm having (a lot of a) struggle already, as we move into the holiday season that marks five years since my mother's death on Christmas Day, 2006.
In some ways, it feels stupid, self-indulgent even. Five years is just a number. It doesn't, in itself, mean any more or any less than any other number.
But we humans tend to mark time in landmarks, and there have been a lot of landmarks. Patrick and I have been married for five years (this past June). Five years is twice as long as my mom lived after the diagnosis. Five years is as old as Beatrix's friends Alex and Kelsey. Five years is half the lifespan of my favorite wine shop. And five years is that many Christmases, and birthdays, and Mother's Days, and amazing Beatrix moments, and so many other things.
My mother never got to meet my dog, or two of my cats, or most of all, her granddaughter. She never got to see her nephew get married in Norway, or meet his son. She never got to support any of the theatres I currently work for by seeing shows there, she never saw our new back yard and porch and bedroom and guest rooms. She never got to even know the idea of a Kindle (god, she would have loved that). She never got to meet some of the friends I am now closest too. Five years is really the blink of an eye, and it's an eternity.
Five years is long enough that I perhaps *should* be over losing my mother, and yet I am not even close it seems.There are times, when I am at a place that reminds me strongly of her, that it's an actual physical ache. In some ways, I have gotten used to life without her, and in some ways it's still so overwhelmingly raw and painful and life-shredding. It hits me at the worst moments sometimes — when I remember a book she liked, when I look down at my hands that are beginning to look just like hers, when I still catch myself wanting to share something with her and realize I can't, when I long for the unconditional support you get from your mother that I just don't have anymore.
So I'm trying, really hard, this holiday season. Christmas was so important to my mother, and that love has carried on to Beatrix in spades. Yet there's a big part of me that really wants to hibernate just about now, and re-emerge sometime in early January. So if I seem a little off, if it seems like I may be faking it somewhat at a holiday gathering, just know that it's five years — and that I'm hoping six will be easier.