She had the best smile. She had the best handwriting. I didn't get either of these from her, and I wish I did.
It's the little things that mean so much, the things I pray I never forget, the things that I feel compelled to write down before they slip away with the sands of time, as more and more years come between the time when I had her and where I am now...
It's an awful feeling, feeling like you no longer have a mother. Knowing and having experienced paranormal activity since I was a child, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we go on; there is life after this, I promise you. And I always thought that knowledge would help me when I lost her, that I'd be comforted by certainty that she's not gone, that I will see her again. This has not happened. What I know and what I can say effortlessly to others...I can't feel in my heart for myself. And I think it's partially because if I accept she's in some other realm, gone from sight but never far away...that means she's not here. And there's something crazy about KNOWING someone has died, but the shock and trauma (and the shit I deal with everyday) has left me unable to fully acknowledge. I still have that vague feeling of "When is this going to be over?" I know the answer. And I also am still angry and resentful...how could she have left me, how can she be happy somewhere when I'm left to deal with the aftermath, how can she have found peace and how can I be happy she's found peace when I'm so miserable in the life she left me in to deal with alone, to be left with the problems and anxieties and the person that we dealt with together...
Yet if anyone deserves peace and happiness, it's her. She had such a hard life. She grew up the black sheep, something she struggled with her entire life, that feeling towards her mother of "What did I do? Why did you hate me so much? Why did you treat me differently than you treated everyone else? Why didn't you ever try to help me? Didn't you care how scared I was of you, and of the rest of the world? It wasn't my fault I was born a year after Cathy and you had your hands full, it wasn't my fault I wasn't as smart as Cathy, it wasn't my fault I wasn't as outgoing as Mike...and then Joe and Judy came along and they could do no wrong... Mike was your golden child, Cathy was the smart one, Joe was the sweet one, and Judy was the baby -- and Donna didn't fit in anywhere." She grew up scared, didn't even like to talk in school which meant that she didn't ask for help and was looked at as stupid, she couldn't spend time with friends because "Then who's going to help me clean the house?!"... And when she got together with my father, her parents hated him, and the more Shirley hated "Stevie Weevie!", the more she clung to him. And when she got pregnant at 17 and had to tell her parents, her father asked her " Did you do this on purpose so you could leave?" That was when she realized he knew...he knew how unhappy she was and how much she wanted to get away...and he kept the peace instead of protecting her. And she loved her Dad so so much. He was a great man. He was your typical old-fashioned man, worked a job he hated because he had a family to take care of; as he got older and had so many health problems, he dealt with them all with grace; he had cancer twice, he had two heart attacks, he had an aortic aneurysm, his appendix burst, he had two hip replacements....and he only ever cared about his wife, asking the kids "Has your mother eaten? Is she tired? Take her home so she can rest." And losing him was horrible for her... She found some kind of relationship as she got older with her mother, but she had times it still really killed her, the way things had been. She could never overcome that.
And her life with my father... It was full of worrying about money, walking on egg shells to deal with his moods, not being able to relax, not being able to be safe and comfortable... Everything she knew about what a man should be, that she saw in her father, she had none of with him. I grew up with our electricity, cable, and phone being shut off regularly; I learned as an adult that she would wake up early to clean the house in case the power got shut off at 6am. He made GOOD MONEY, but he blew it -- he had fun with it, then what was leftover he'd paid the bills... And when they separated, I had no idea until I was older that she couldn't even afford the rent in our tiny apartment we nicknamed The Shoebox. We would always walk down the street to QuikChek to get hoagies or Taco Bell (they had it inside the store) for dinner; we had a convo several years ago where she told me how ashamed she was, and I was shocked, telling her " Do you know how AWESOME that was for an 11-year-old? Hoagies and tacos all the time? I LOVED it. You may have felt like you weren't doing enough, but I never felt that way. I never felt like I was going without. I want you to know that." She couldn't make it on her own, couldn't make enough money, so she HAD to go back to my father... I know she loved him, I saw it when he almost died after his heart surgery, but that just wasn't enough. He treated her like shit, took everything she did for granted, said horrible things to her... And all I hear is her over the last year or so of her life, her telling me she just wanted him to go away..."Because I deserve some peace before I die." And she never got that. Aunt Denise also told me once she'd told her, in saying how grateful she was to have me here and all I did to help her, "If Steve goes first...Nickie and I are gonna have a good time." And none of us...ever, ever expected she would be the first to go... And then she spent the last decade of her life being sick, seldom at first, eventually it controlled her every minute...she suffered...and there was no reason she should've had to. She died afraid and begging for her life, the way only violent criminals deserve... She should've died an old woman, comfortable and warm in her bed. She deserved so so SO much more than life gave her...
But here we are. Here I am. Two and a half years since I saw her face (scared and knowing she was dying, when I refused to believe her). Two and a half years since I heard her voice (begging for someone to help her). Two and a half years since the night I sat with her all night, holding her hand, knowing deep in my heart that it was the end but telling myself that that COULDN'T happen, wasn't ALLOWED to happen, that God would never let that happen...
I didn't get her smile or her handwriting, but I got a sapphire marble box of her ashes that sits on my bookshelf... That I won't let myself acknowledge, that I have to mentally prepare myself to even dust so I don't start hyperventilating... And it's writing things like that, that is my way of making baby steps to deal with it... But now I'm shaking my head like an Etch-A-Sketch (literally) to make the thought disappear. Because it's too awful and horrifying and disgusting. But now I'm getting off-track of my intention of writing this...
I miss that smile. Even though one of her front teeth somehow started to turn, giving her a gap she'd never had, I still loved her smile. I miss that handwriting, which mine severely paled in comparison to. I miss all of our private jokes.
- Doing the "Eat, Santa, eat!" from A Year Without a Santa Claus randomly when talking about eating
- Me doing Jim Carrey's Hannibal Lecter "Hello, Clarice. It's good to see you again" from The Cable Guy every year we watched Rudolph
- Us alternating doing Debra's PMS rant from Everybody Loves Raymond when we did laundry "Clean the lint screen, Ray! What, do you like lint?! Well Happy Birthday, Ray! Here's your LINT!"
- Doing Ray's "You probably need a prescription for bitchy" from the same episode
- Michael's botched " Danke Shoen" song (" Donkey chains! Oh donkey chains!" ) from My Wife and Kids
- at Christmastime, singing "Good King Wenceslas" like Kim on Yes Dear: "Good King Wenceslas looked out on the feast of Stephen. *hums in tune* Who the hell is Steven?"
- calling Frank on Blue Bloods a "pompous ass" from a time a friend of mine called him that and we were baffled
- randomly humming the Soap theme song around the house
- calling out "Foreman!" whenever we saw the Steelers coach because he looked so much like Foreman on House
- her saying her favorite Sheldon line: "If ifs and buts were candy and nuts we'd all have a merry Christmas."
- her saying her favorite Emmett line from Queer As Folk: "A song and a snack can turn any moment into an occasion."
- whenever we heard the name Josh we'd laugh out "Josh Fuckface!" from the episode of The Goldbergs
- me quoting something the commentator said during a particularly bad Eagles game when something went wrong: "The ball fell off the tee...and that about sums it up."
- her quoting Jim Gaffigan's bit about reading in church without his glasses, "Tell Jesus 'hey'"
- when we saw a fire on TV, her going "they could use a wooden spoon" -- because when I was 11 and a kitchen towel caught on fire, i threw it in the sink and tried to beat the fire out with a wooden spoon (LOL)
- Saying "Hey, that's not nice -- I need my feet!" -- because one time Damian stepped on Mikey's foot on purpose and we heard from the next room him yell that in all seriousness, we laughed so hard because of HOW it was said.
- Quoting the stupid shit Steve said over the years: " Did I eat yet?" (the episode of SPN when Dean said that, we screamed and then laughed so hard we had to pause it), "It's in the square box!", "I can't eat when the dog is looking at me!"...
- The way Norton said "Luluuuu!" on The Honeymooners (her Grandmother's name)
- so fucking many things I KNOW but aren't coming to me right now...
I'm just remembering her hands. I can vividly see them. They were bigger than mine, and she thought it was so odd that mine were not only small, but that (with the exception of my pinky) I could wear the same ring size on all of my fingers. Sometimes she liked to wear a lot of rings, including one on her middle knuckle (a garnet heart -- the ring I wear on my right pinky). I remember how when her nails got too long, they started to curl under. And though I'm sure she'd rather me not, I just remember her feet, not big (size 7) but wide and how she could never get her damn heels to NOT be dry and cracked. She had dry skin in general, so thanks for that among many great genes you passed on, Ma. She had a little purple rose tattoo on her right outer ankle, something my father almost made her get; she got it higher up away from the bone so it didn't hurt as much. She also had his name that he tattooed on her thigh with Indian ink when they were younger. (He has two hearts with their initials on his right arm done the same way -- I haven't thought of that in a long time, since I haven't seen it in a long time -- he was forever walking around the house without his shirt, but ever since his heart surgery and the scars/dip in his chest, he always wears it.) So many little things... The purple Chatties flip flops she wore in and still wore year after year even after we got new ones; I still have them. (She has a new purple pair hanging on the wall in the kitchen since she got a kick out of us almost having flip-flops named after us -- the way our last name is pronounced.) I'm vividly seeing her lipstick print on her coffee cup, the big 6ABC one she had for years; the morning news sent it to her when she sent in a picture of Stevie and Little Stevie for their morning segment, cute pictures of people sleeping. I bought her an Impractical Jokers coffee cup that she used the last couple years of her life, orange inside, her 2nd fave color after purple, adorned with "Larry!" in different font styles, as Joe was her favorite and his "Larry!" bit was her favorite thing he did.
She loved to listen to her music loud, and she ALWAYS listened to it when she cleaned. She listened to Genesis/Phil Collins, Queen, Aerosmith, The Drifters, Alice in Chains, Stone Temple Pilots, Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, Brad Paisley, Blake Shelton, Kansas, Bach, and Joe Pesci's My Cousin Vinny album (Vincent LaGuardio Gambino Sings Just For You) among many others. I, too, am always more productive if I'm listening to music, but I prefer mine through headphones; and I, too, have very eclectic tastes. I've never changed the CDs in her 5-disc changer in the living room; it hasn't been turned on since October 2018. She had a very nice singing voice, nothing big and surprising but soothing and pleasant. I'd give anything to have a recording of it, as I can't clearly hear it. And she had a big, booming laugh when something really got her going -- I especially hear her laughing at the Jokers, Sal delivering the calf and lacklusterly petting it going "Everybody loves ya...", Joe banging on the drums and making the loud "caw"ing sounds in Hawaii. The things I usually was the most uncomfortable having her hear in movies/shows were the things that made her laugh the loudest; the examples that always come to mind are Banky in Chasing Amy saying "You have some idiotic notion that this girl would even let you sniff her panties, let alone fuck her?!" and Brian in Queer As Folk saying, of another gay retreat, "I'd rather have my tongue superglued to a lesbian's twat" and Brian again telling Michael he didn't tell his boyfriend a big lie, "That's not a big fat lie. A big fat lie is 'I won't cum in your mouth.'" As I was shrinking into the chair, she was cackling, and I wanted to go "MOTHER!" LOL...
Something I never really realized until the last couple years of her life was how much she liked to stand out. She didn't want to be the center of attention, but she didn't like to blend in. She wasn't a By the Book kind of person. For my cousin's October baby shower, she bought Halloween boxes for the gifts. I went "Everyone else is going to have baby shower stuff and we're gonna have THOSE?! I'll be so embarrassed!" and she went "Oh no, we won't fit in -- who cares!" I cared, lol. She would walk to the gas station to get her cigarettes in pajama pants, and I was so fucking embarrassed if she wore the leggings with Christmas lights on them, lol. For her 60th birthday party she wore black leggings and knee-high socks with flamingos on them. She'd wear a bow tie for fun. She HATED pink almost my entire life, but the last few years she found herself enjoying it. I gave her some tank tops to decide which would look best with her pant suit for a wedding, and she said "Believe it or not, I like the hot pink one." Every Halloween we'd argue over purple being or not being a Halloween color. "It's NOT a Halloween color! WHAT about Halloween is purple?!" I'd say. "What about Halloween is RED?!" she'd counter. "...Blood!" LOL! God I miss decorating for Halloween with her... The whole house was decked out, even more in some spots than Christmas. No one could decorate like she could. She said in another life, she would've loved to have been an interior designer or a florist. She loved spider plants and I desperately try to keep the 4 we have alive (as well as the others that I have no idea what they are); Stevie tried to comfort me, "Mommy killed more plants than you ever could. Don't worry about it." But by the time I was aware, she had a green thumb, and I want to keep her plants alive for as long as I possibly can. They're not as happy with me as they were with her, but I'm doing my best. When she died, it became my responsibility to keep every living thing in this house alive...and that's a lot of pressure on one person. She was SO PISSED the second to last day of her life when she found out I hadn't watered the plants at all while she was in the hospital, so it's the first thing I did when I got home that Saturday. (Sorry, Ma, have been more concerned that YOU are alive from day to day, and I have barely eaten from being so scared that I lost 15 pounds in a week...but I'll water the fucking plants!! )
She was never the kind of person who wanted to watch the same movie or show over and over again, while my father and I will watch something we enjoy to DEATH. But there were the exceptions as time went by. We watched The Birdcage at least once a year, watched Father of the Bride and the sequel until she never wanted to see them again, Heart and Souls always held a special place in our hearts, we got so excited whenever Vice Versa was on, she loved watching Dogma whenever it came on (her fave of Kevin Smith's movies), and then SHE had to watch the Harry Potter marathon whenever it was on to the point I was sick of it! She went from not caring in the least about HP, then she watched one with me and was HOOKED -- we rented the whole series (the first 6 up to that point) for $9.75 (get it? <3 ) and watched them all; her faves were the first 2 when they were still little. Then we watched reruns of Supernatural on TNT all the time after we binged and caught up, she'd DVR her favorite episodes to keep. I made SPN decorations for her birthday in 2017 and she loved the picture of Dean and Crowley at the bar in their cowboy hats so much that she made a frame for it and kept it on the cabinet in the kitchen; it's still there today.
She loved owls and we have a massive bookshelf my father made on the wall in the living room to keep all of her figurines. She got away from owls a bit as she got older and got more into flamingos, but she still enjoyed anything owl. For years, Aunt Denise always gave her one for Christmas. Our kitchen is decorated in tropical stuff, flamingos and parrots among other things; used to be even more decorated years ago, back when our kitchen was still "fiesta green". She used to decorate the backyard so nicely in leis and other tropical things, it looked so beautiful with the plants all the way around the canopy. She would decorate to perfection and it took her hours or even days to get things just how she wanted it -- and then when it came to Christmas decorations, she would keep moving certain shit ALL MONTH LONG and I'd come downstairs and just stare at a spot and go "You moved it AGAIN?" and she'd laugh "Yeah. So what? Shut up. Leave me alone." It took her DAYS to decorate the tree, and past the age of like 12 I was no longer even allowed to help. She'd get it set up, then put the lights on, sit back and have a cigarette and look at it to make sure they were how she wanted, then start putting certain things on for awhile, sit back and have another cigarette and a cup of coffee or cinnamon apple tea and look at it and decide what to do next... The last thing was always the little ribbons and/or poinsettias. Those were about Day Three of Tree Trimming. Eventually it was fun to just watch her work. And sing to the music we had on. For years we always put on the Yule Log that played music, then they started making more. We'd have them on in the background, or eventually I'd put on the Christmas playlists on Pandora on my phone. It was so peaceful and happy, her doing her thing, me doing mine, but we were enjoying something together. THAT...is what I miss so desperately -- that comfort with her. And I cannot decorate for Halloween or Christmas anymore...because it doesn't mean anything without her, and Christmas music just makes me cry. Specials and movies that we watched for YEARS...I now haven't seen since 2017. I can't bring myself to watch Christmas Vacation without her. That was ours. And I don't want it to be a sad thing...so I just choose to leave it behind for now. I cried every single episode of Supernatural the final 2 seasons without her. I'm not ready to do that with the holidays.
She always wore blue eyeliner and mascara, and she separated her eyelashes, "spidering" I believe I've heard it called. I used to watch her do her makeup in the mornings when I was younger. Even when she was sick, she still did it -- ever since the day she went without it and our new neighbor came knocking on the door looking for my father...and asked her if her SON was home! LOL.... She never wore eyeshadow. As almost everyone knows, what she DID wear was pajama pants and her famous purple sweatshirt. She was always in pajamas, and she never wore a bra unless she left the house or someone came over because she could breathe better without one. She also loved her slippers and went through them easily. I have the last pair she ever wore, along with a duplicate pair I bought for myself to wear after she died -- pale pink with polka dots. There are other pairs in her closet, along with the pajama pants she has hanging up in there. I mean it when I say I've changed virtually NOTHING, and that's the way I need it for now. That is why the living room still has the orange Halloween doiles and pumpkin placemats on the tables. It's a comfort for me. If I weren't stuck here with Steve, I could deal differently but with him...I NEED to keep her presence around or I just couldn't make it.
We loved morbid things together. For literally 20 years, we watched all kinds of paranormal shows together. October was everything for us -- our favorite month, our favorite season, our favorite holiday. (Which is why it's so unbelievably fucking CRUEL that she died on Halloween...) If there was ever a nice cooler breeze during the summer I'd exclaim "It feels like October!" because that was the epitome and comfort and happiness. I'm looking at the Monster High doll she bought me, Frankie Stein. We loved the goriest makeups on Face Off. I remember excitedly showing her a picture I saw of windows that were shaped like coffins and she thought it was the coolest thing. She never liked horror movies when I was growing up, but as soon as The Conjuring came out, she just HAD to see it because we loved Ed and Lorraine Warren -- we watched it on Mother's Day 2015. ( *cries* That was just 6 years ago?!) We even went to see the second one in the theatre...and that's when I learned she was one of those people who sat there going "Oh what's gonna happen? Oh no, oh no!" and I wanted to move seats because it annoyed the ever living fuck out of me! LOL... I'd give anything to have her do that now. It's funny that I say she didn't like horror because she LOVED Stephen King. She was forever reading his books when I was growing up. She could read it, but she didn't like to watch it -- with the exception of IT. I remember wanting to stay up to watch the mini-series with her in the early '90s. (I remember her reading IT when I was little, the cover was just a sewer grate, and we had one of them right in front of our house -- I would throw pennies down there calling for Pennywise. Explains so much, doesn't it? LOL ) And she was SO EXCITED for the remakes. I vividly remember when I rented 2017 IT for us to watch (after I'd seen it in the theatres), she LOVED IT so much she watched it again the next day and it hurts to remember her excitedly saying "I can't wait to see the next one! I can't wait to see who they pick to play them as adults!" That was SO HARD to go see without her on my birthday in 2019. It's especially emotional for me because it's the movie that made me fall in love with Bill Hader and later PJ Ransone, and I KNOW she would've loved adult Richie and Eddie. I wish I could've shared Richie and Eddie with her. And she wanted to see the Pet Sematary remake, as well, which I think she would've really enjoyed, especially since John Lithgow, who she always liked, was in it. And now it's going to be sad next month for me to watch the third Conjuring without her.
Speaking of my love for Bill... He was the very first person that I cared about that I couldn't share with her. My entire life, 33 years, ANYONE I liked -- actor or musician -- she got into with me. She did the same with my brothers, as I remember the afternoon we all sat in the living room listening to Rob Zombie. They got her into Stone Temple Pilots and Alice in Chains. And with me...it was so many people and so many things. First was New Kids on the Block. Not long after it was Michael Jackson -- and when things got bad in 1992, she was the only one in my life who believed he was innocent, and that meant the world to me. She spent money she didn't really have to subscribe me to his magazine. Later she listened to Hanson with me, and soon after it was all about the Backstreet Boys. In true Donna form, her favorite song was the raunchiest. She always loved AJ, and after several months I switched from Nick to AJ. I remember when we found out his wife was pregnant and having a girl, I hear her, "Oh he's wanted kids for so long! And he's gonna be a GREAT dad, especially for a little girl!" It touched me so much that she knew him that well. We watched Dancing with the Stars for Nick Carter and she was always defensive when he got criticized -- I'm so sad she couldn't watch AJ on there, too. She listened to *NSYNC, LFO, and 98 Degrees with me, watched Making the Band on Friday nights with me... I NEVER talked about having crushes on anyone past a certain age (but I do clearly remember asking her when I was 13 how she knew she was in love with my father because I thought I was in love with Jordan Knight, LMFAO!)...but of course she knew. (Sadly, the first and only time I ever even talked to her about wanting to get married and have kids, it was several hours before she died when I was trying to convince her to go on the ventilator, asking her with tears in my eyes, " Do you want to live to see me get married? Do you want to live to see me have kids?"....) When I'd randomly start watching a show or certain movies, I'd want her to watch with me. The only time she ever said anything was the time she got home from work and I told her "I watched Planet of the Apes today," and she stared at me and asked "...Who's in it?" and I responded "...Mark Wahlberg" and she gave me an "Uh huh" look. LOL! Yeah, I had a thing for him briefly, but Donnie was my first celeb love when I was 4 and she and I both followed his career, watching every series he was in together and every talk show appearance. She watched Ben Affleck movies and anytime he was on talk shows with me, Joaquin Phoenix's movies and his quirky interviews with me, Liev Schreiber movies and his episodes of CSI, Skeet Ulrich's CSI: NY and Law & Order: LA, Jason Lee movies and My Name is Earl, Tim Olyphant movies, Vincent D'Onofrio movies and Criminal Intent (...I think we shared that crush, honestly LOL, as well as Jeffrey Dean Morgan who SHE was just as excited to see whenever he was on talk shows; I was so sad I couldn't share the "Here's Negan" episode of TWD with her). She actually got ME into Ghost Adventures, but I can just hear her thoughts the day I watched the marathon with her just before Halloween 2009, "Oh God, now she likes Zak...here we go..." as well as getting her into Josh Gates and his shows, which she ended up enjoying even more than I did. I'm just remembering getting her to watch The Killers with me and she was intrigued, as well as getting her into The Voice and Adam Levine. And of course I got her into the Jokers and she loved it just as much as I did; I'm sure she realized I had a crush on Q, and she loved him for how much he loved animals. She even watched Naked and Afraid XL for Steven Lee Hall, Jr with me even though she was past the point of caring about the show. *sigh* All my life, I could share it with her. When she died, all of that stopped in a big way -- I didn't even HAVE those feelings for nearly a year, I just existed and got through my day, nothing made me happy, nothing much made me smile, not even the Jokers really made me laugh. And then the person that made my heart start beating again, the person that brought me back to life...Bill Hader...I couldn't share him with her. And I KNOW she would've loved him, and I know she would've loved Barry. I will forever be grateful for her always encouraging anything and anyone that made me happy. And I will always feel guilty that I wasn't as accepting about things she enjoyed, because I could be selfish. I'm sorry, Ma. I wish I'd been better. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, and I'm sorry I didn't learn from your example...but if I ever get to be a mother, I will do the same for my kids that you did for me. It will always remain the most meaningful thing about you for me, you'll never know what it meant to me.
I'm realizing I could write forever and barely scratch the surface. I miss her saying "hisself," "theirselves" and "drownded". I miss her saying things like "I need to clean this joint" for "I need to clean the house." I miss her calling me "chickie" or "boo". I miss her saying "dead ass" instead of "lazy ass". I miss her getting mad at my father and referring to him as a "pussy ass bitch" or a "pussy baby" (LMFAO!). I miss her saying, of people complaining about their children, "That's the fucking you get for the fucking you got". I miss her saying, of people who'd get along well for all the wrong reasons, "They could bump asses." I miss her saying "Lordy Bagordy," "Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!", "Ah marone!" I miss when one of the cats was trying to sit with her and there was no space and she'd tell them "there's no room at the inn." When the phone would keep ringing or there was a lot going on, she'd exclaim "[it's like] Grand Central Station!" When Salem would sit on the arm of the chair and fling her tail around, "you and that deadly tail!" I miss her saying to herself if there was work to be done, "Get your ass in gear, old woman!" (and then I'd yell "You're not old!" ). I miss the can of Pepsi she would start drinking though a straw around 10am and she'd finish it HOURS later, not caring that it got warm or flat, just liking the flavor. I miss eating popcorn with her at night when we were binging SPN, just looking at her and "Popcorn?" "Yeah!" Later she'd have a bowl of cereal instead, and she liked to mix different cereals together. She also liked to just eat dinner out of a big bowl, putting everything semi-separately, and to my disgusted face, "It's all going to the same place."
One of my absolute favorite pictures of her EVER is the one I took just before Christmas 2009 when we were making lasagnas. I went to take the picture, and she smiled and gave me the finger at the same time, standing there in her pajamas -- THAT sums up my mother for me in a way no other picture does. I love it. It's us just hanging out, and her being herself, and us having the kind of relationship where we could laugh and say "oh shut up" or "oh fuck you" or call each other "bitch" and we knew it was with love. That was my mom. That was my friend. And that is who I miss desperately. I've been told by multiple people that we were "two peas in a pod," "two halves of the same whole," "soul mates." Aunt Denise says "I could never think of her without thinking of you, and I could never think of you without thinking of her -- you two just went together." And while I feel incredibly grateful to have that kind of relationship and that kind of love for 33 years, I also feel incredibly robbed to have only had it for 33 years. Losing her literally changed every aspect of my life. I lost my go-to, my sidekick, my partner in crime, my other half of my heart and soul. And in my worst moments, I still wish I'd made good on what I told her when I was 8 years old -- "When you die, I have to die, too. I can't live without you."
Thank you for being my mom. No matter how long we had together, it never would've been enough -- but I'd still give anything for more time. I miss you every single day. I've come a very long way since I lost you, but there will never be a day I don't miss you and wouldn't sacrifice anything to bring you back. I love you so much. And even after all of this...I still feel like I don't have enough words.