By Christy Davila
As a college freshman, my world was rocked. Rocked in a way that shouldn’t have happened for a long time. I will never forget that day. I was 19 years-old.
In the first week of spring quarter, my dad left me an odd message. Something has happened, I need to talk to you. Here’s what I remember.
I went to my dad’s office. His office manager sent me into the back, where I spoke to my dad. I’d thought something happened to my brother, or my grandmother. He told me Mom was in the hospital.
Not Mom. Never Mom.
No, Mom was supposed to live forever.The room got darker. I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t breathe. The couple of miles to the hospital was the longest drive of my life. I sobbed. Part of me was in denial. Three days later, my mom passed away.
Two decades since, I still picture everything just like yesterday. My parents were in the middle of a divorce when Mom died. I contacted everyone, made all the arrangements, planned her memorial service.
I walked around in a daze. That quarter at school is a blur. I dropped a few classes, but passed the ones I kept. I picked myself up and went on.
After graduation, I started my career as a teacher — my biggest influence in that choice was Mom. I got married and had my first child. Then, I got divorced.That was not supposed to happen.
My first marriage had a lot to do with Mom — I just wanted a family. I wanted to be the perfect wife and mother. I wanted Mom to tell me I was doing it right.
I looked for her approval even knowing I couldn’t get it — the thing I wanted most. I missed the part where I needed to find my own way. I didn’t need to live-up to my memory of a ghost.
My second husband has been through loss, too. He understands why I cry or when I need to laugh. My girlfriends let me vent, they hold me up, they cry with me. They are my lifelines.
Mom was a beautiful woman. We are similar in so many ways. As I approach the age she was when she died, I look ahead with fear and excitement. I’m doing what I never thought I would.
I’m a runner, a writer, a teacher, a wife, a mom. Today I have interests we share, knowing Mom cheers me on from the sidelines like always. I miss what she would’ve been to my children — the Best Grandma Ever. My boys have many strong women in their lives, including me. And through me, they know Mom a little.
The hole Mom left will never go away. But my life is full and happy — I look forward to what will come. In the past eleven years, I’ve learned to be a better mom. Mom taught me how. I know I am her daughter.
And I know Mom is cheering me on. Like she always did.
Christy Davila is a mom to 2 boys, and a kindergarten teacher. When her taxiing and trying to keep 2 boys from destroying the house doesn’t take up her time, she likes to dabble in crafting and cooking. Visit her blog.