Here’s what I know: 12 years does not make losing my mom easier, those years just make it even more unbelievable.
“She’s been gone longer than I ever had the chance to know her,” is an actual line I threw into a conversation with a friend this week.
Today my mom has been dead for 12 years. I knew her for 10.
I’ve been writing this post in my head for weeks, not knowing exactly where I wanted to go with it. It’s exceptionally hard to write about someone on their death anniversary because you’re torn between wanting to write about their life, their death or moments they missed and want to share. I figured I’d try a combination of all three.
My mom’s name was Delia, but she was better known as Loly. She always smelled good and the only time I ever saw her without a fresh manicure was when she was using nail polish remover to give herself a new coat.
She was beautiful and lived for her family. She was a single mom, who took me to work on weekends and, for my sake, turned her lunch breaks into pizza parties. She promised me moments she never got to see through, not because she didn’t want to, but because God had other plans.
She curled my hair for my First Communion, made a big deal every time I made the honor roll and out of love for me pretended to read American Girl books. She worked 10-12 hour days, but still managed to pick up the new Spice Girls CD for me on her way home. She’s my hero.
It pains me to know that those in my life today will never get to meet her.
3 months after being in the hospital, her heart stopped and then started back up. Throughout the day it would do this a couple more times. Then it didn’t. On the afternoon of January 10, 2003, her heart said enough was enough.
The doorbell to my apartment rang at 4-ish. El Gordo y La Flaca was playing on the TV and in that minute I excused myself to my aunt and went to use the bathroom. I hid in there until I heard my family walk through the door because somehow I knew. And, I didn’t want to know.
I wanted to delay it just a little bit. The same way I wanted to delay writing this piece, because in my mind, if I did, it’d be a little less true. A little less real.
12 years is a long time. I have a cousin who’s going to turn 12 in a month. 12 years is her lifetime. So, like life, knowing someone’s been dead for 12 years, doesn’t make it easier. You just learn to live through all the moments.