Pieces Never Touched

I was talking with my dad the other day about how for some reason, fall brings a new batch of emotions when it comes to missing my mom. I can’t put my finger on why exactly. Maybe it’s because of our shared birthday month of September. Maybe it is the drastic changing of the seasons and the reminders of all the things that have changed since she left. Maybe it is the reminder that soon the beautiful leaves will fall to the ground and blow away in the wind, that nature dies just as humans do.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know there is going to be a Gilmore Girls revival this fall. A lot of people are very excited about this, but I have a feeling not quite as many people cry at every sneak peak or article posted online. Let me explain. I was late to the Gilmore Girls party and didn’t start watching it until there were reruns on ABC Family. I would come home after school, grab a snack, and work on homework while I watched. Soon my mom started joining me in the living room and asking questions about the characters. Before I knew it, she was also hooked. We had always had “our show” throughout the years, from Full House to 7th Heaven. We watched it throughout my high school career, would discuss it while I was away at school, and watch our favorites episodes together when I was home. When she got sick, there were hours in hospitals and chemo treatments and late nights of brutal side effects. I bought my mom and iPad and we watched hours and hours of Gilmore Girls together again. Big ups to Netflix for having all 7 seasons.

Whispers of a Gilmore Girls revival started when my mom was diagnosed. I had a sinking feeling that she wouldn’t live to see the day it happened. I was right. When the revival was officially announced, I sobbed. How unfair was this world that she didn’t get to see this? But then I also remind myself that at least she didn’t have to witness this election cycle.

I’m continually hit with reminders of the pieces of life that my mom never got to touch. I can neither confirm nor deny that I cried in the grocery store because there were caramel apples and my mom was incapable of going to the grocery store during the month of October without coming home with a caramel apple. Although plenty of people cry when reading Nicholas Sparks books, I think I’m only one of a few who sobs in the book aisle at Target when I see that he released a new book that my mom will never get to open (and eventually drag us to the mediocre movie based on the book).

I’m reminded that the only me she ever go to know was up to 24-year-old me. She never got to see what 25, 26, and all the years beyond had in store for me. She didn’t get to see me move to a new city, start a job I love with my whole heart, or give her two cents on how I should decorate my new apartment for Christmas. I live in a place she never saw and work with students she never heard of. I’ve made friends that she’ll never hear about or get to meet. I’ve traveled to places and gone on adventures that she would have listened intently for hours as I talked about every detail.

In May, my brother will walk across a stage in a gown she never got to steam for him. Someday I’ll marry a man she never met in a dress she never helped me pick out. Someday I’ll have babies that she never got to hold and kiss.

I’ve had thoughts and feelings and hopes and dreams that I will never get to share with her. Sometimes my heart gets so overwhelmed thinking about all of the pieces of my life that she’ll never touch that I can’t breathe.

When these thoughts creep into my head, I think of all of the things that she did touch that live on long after she left us. A favorite song of mine is Give a Little Love by Noah and the Whale, with the lyric, “What you share with the world is what it keeps of you.”

I think of the preschool she helped start at my childhood church, where friends now send their own kids. I think of the Change for Charity program she helped start at the same church, where once a month children enthusiastically collect change in containers I helped her make many years ago. I think of the wise words she shared with me that I’ve passed on to friends and students. I think of all of the blog posts that she inspired. I think of the funny stories I’m able to share about her. I think of all the places where she gave her time, talent, and energy and the difference it made in those people’s lives. I think of the people she raised my brother and me to be, and all of the potential impact we can have because she touched our lives. I think of the handwritten letters that so many people have told me they tucked away and look at when they are in need of inspiration. I think of how she taught my brother and me to value our education and work hard in all we do in life. I think of how she taught me to love selflessly and care for others, and those are things I will carry with me into marriage and motherhood.

So although it has been 16 months since she has been able to physically touch and experience so many things, and there will be so many things in the future that she will miss out on, because of how she lived her life, she will always be touching all aspects of not only my life, but so many other people’s lives. And there’s something very comforting in knowing that our lives touch the world long after our days are done.

 

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