Today marks the one year anniversary of my Mom’s suicide. The dread of this day has been following me around like the little gray cloud on the Zoloft commercial, accompanied by a sad little song. The one year anniversary feels like the real end to her life, the final nail in her coffin. It took my brain an entire year to accept her absence as something more final. I was able to find comfort and sanity in replaying memories of what she had been doing one year before as the holidays and important dates passed.
I remember sitting together at our last Thanksgiving, eating the same homemade cranberry sauce, stuffing (one with onions and one without), mashed potatoes, and chocolate pie that we always shared. I remember celebrating Li Na’s birthday at my parents’ home, all of the kids running through the yard dragging giant animal balloons that my Mom had delivered just for the party. I remember bringing her new clothes (a few sizes smaller each time) to fit her shrinking body and pleading with her to get better. I remember her one really good day! She called everyone in the family to say that she was better and that she was back to her old self. She laughed for the first time in a long time. I remember our frequent phone calls, always initiated on my end to check in and make sure she was okay. I remember her struggling to be present with her grandchildren, when all she could give was a forced smile and a quiet laugh. I remember watching her essence, her “momness,” slowly slip away with each visit. I remember the fear in her eyes and the resignation in her voice as she said “I’m not going to get better.” And I remember the last day I hugged her, the day before her death. I so wish I had known it would be my last.
In my mind, I reasoned that if I could remember each event, each memory in perfect detail, that maybe she would come back. Accepting her loss feels like another death. Accepting that this year will not hold new memories of my Mom is heart-breaking. And so I will continue this journey through grief another year. I will continue completing acts of kindness in her honor and for my own well being. I will continue to love her and remember her.