One year ago today I lost my best friend in the world. It seems trite and ridiculous to say that your mom is your best friend, but I say it because it is true. We were the best of friends; we spoke or texted every day, we talked about EVERYTHING, we had our own shorthand, our own jokes, we shared a dark sense of humor, we loved puzzles and spending time together, and we loved each other unconditionally. She called me her best friend, and she was mine.
It seems like forever ago that she left us – it also seems like yesterday. I’m not sure how that works, but that’s how it feels to me. I miss her terribly, so much that it hurts my heart. It seems ridiculous that I will never speak to her again, that she isn’t here, that I can never hug her again. I am a grown woman in my 50’s, and I feel like a toddler who let go of their mom’s hand and is lost and scared without her.
Mom, we are so sad without you. Some days it’s almost too much to bear. All those beautiful handmade beaded ornaments that you made were the only ones I put on the tree last Christmas. When the holidays were over I couldn’t take the ornaments off, I couldn’t take the tree down. It’s July and my Christmas tree is still up. I look at it every day and say “I love you mom” or “I miss you mom”. Maybe it isn’t healthy, I don’t really care – it makes me feel better.
Remember that year that we had a small artificial Christmas tree and after the holidays we took off the branches on one side and hung half a tree on the wall? Dad thought we were all crazy, but all of us girls thought it was the best, funniest thing ever! We made construction paper ornaments for every single holiday and decorated the tree all year long. Hearts for Valentine’s Day, Shamrocks for St. Patrick’s Day, etc. We even decorated for little, lesser known holidays and my sisters and I loved it – and loved you for letting us do it and helping us with it.
We grew so much closer in the last 6 or 7 years you were here, and I treasure every moment we were able to spend with each other. We laughed, we cried, we cussed, we loved each other so much. I will never have a better friend who loves me as much as you did; I couldn’t love another friend as much as I love you.
The Mystery Puzzle Box I gave you for Christmas the year before you died, you told me was “the best present you’d ever gotten” and you were even more excited about it than I was – and I was pretty darned excited! We had a blast sorting it, looking at all the wonderfully made shapes, and marveling over how well the pieces fit together and what a great find it was. We laughed about the “old” smell, and our inside joke about the age of the puzzle and what it meant. We were both so excited to hear from the experts about the origin of the puzzle and how old it is – you were like a little kid at Christmas! Because of that gift we spent even more time together in your last few months than we normally did. What a beautiful gift that I ended up giving to myself. I will cherish every moment we spent together working on it, we had the best time and it was most definitely our favorite puzzle ever.
We talked about getting matching tattoos, something with a puzzle piece. We kept looking for the right image, showing each other what we liked and trying to decide on the exact thing we both agreed on. Even though you were in your 70’s and I’m in my 50’s you were still excited about us both getting our first tattoos together. We never did decide on the right image before you got sick. After you were gone my daughter and I looked through the pieces of the last puzzle that you and I assembled together and finally found the right piece. The tattoo I got early this year was for the both of us; it’s a piece of your favorite section of the last puzzle we did together. It’s beautiful to me and reminds me of you every day.
I love it. It’s so meaningful to me. And it’s in remembrance of you and our love for each other, and our shared love of all puzzles and the time we spent together shopping for, looking at, talking about, and assembling jigsaw puzzles. 💗
We still miss you, and we’re still heartbroken that you’re gone. You were an awesome mom. You were an awesome Meema to your grandkids. You were never perfect, none of us are. But you loved us always, even when we made stupid mistakes; we knew you were in our corner, backing us up with your unconditional love. That’s all a mom and grandma can do sometimes, let her kids and grandkids know how much they’re loved, and that they’ll always be loved no matter what. You did that, and you did it so very well.