Posted by: Ingrid | July 2, 2014

Remembering the Lost Years

What would you think of me now, so lucky, so strong, so proud? I never said thank you for that. Now I’ll never have the chance. -Jimmy Eat World


This year the anniversary of my mom’s death hit the day before an early birthday party for Isaac (early as in 6 weeks early, so we could have it pre-move).  All day I was cake decorating, cleaning like crazy (do not stop cleaning your house and then decide to have a party in said house  -dumb.),  throwing boxes in the bedroom, going, going, going all day.

One thing that seven years has taught me is that the grief changes.  What I felt when she died, when I was six months married starting my fledgling adult life is different than the grief that hits me now, seven years later with three children who will never have the opportunity to meet their Grandma.

So often I think about the now or the future: What would you think, Mom, if you could see life right now?  But this year, trying to keep track of  three little children and how quickly they grow I grieve more for the then.  I am acutely aware that I am the keeper of memories for my children’s first years.  What I choose to remember, record, and write down will be what they end up with when they are interested (if they are interested), maybe decades from now.  The thousands of daily things: funny sayings, when they walked, what they liked, how they slept, so much of that is linked to me and my willingness to chronicle it.

The more I remember these things for my own children the more I realize that I didn’t just lose my mom when she died, I lost my first five years of “memories” and stories.  Was I a good eater?  Did I bite when I got teeth?  Did I sleep well?  Did I transition well to solids?  What did you think when you held me?  What did you worry about?  What did I play with?  Who did I play with?  What was I like?  The questions I would ask a mother of small children came too late.


In the dark of Isaac’s room a few nights ago, when I was about to leave, he suddenly hugged me and said: If you were dead I would miss you and be so sad.  (Wha…?) Because sometimes mommies and daddies die.  I don’t even know where that came from, truly, it took me off guard.  But he’s right.  You don’t get the guarantee that your parents will be alive when you are an adult and having children.  So I write and record as best I can in the midst of chaos and try to live in the present with all of my unanswered questions, grateful when I find my mom’s old recipes, notes scribbled on a scrap of paper, or pictures, like these three that I came across last year but had never seen before.  Those memories completely lost except for the click of a camera.


May angels lead you in.

Hear you me my friend.

On sleepless roads the sleepless go.

May angels lead you in.

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