a letter to my mom on my first Mother’s Day

Dear Mom,
I never thought that my first Mother’s Day would be so bittersweet. As I look my beautiful daughter in her curious, wide eyes, and truly feel for the first time what it’s like to love so much, I look around for you to share it with, but you’re not here. 

I miss you. I miss your love. I miss your hugs. I miss your German accent. I miss your innocent smile (the one you gave even when you were up to something mischievous). Addie has the same smile. She has a lot of you in her. 

The other night I dreamt that you were still with us. We were having a party at your house and you said that all you had to do was “push the toxins out of my body and then I was cured.” I wish it were that easy. I wish it happened that way. But boy did you give cancer a good fight. Always with a smile. Always with everything you had. Always with your face on. Because why go to chemo without your face on, decked out in a stylish hat and Tiffany jewels. You are such a classy lady, I can only hope I’ll be half as classy as you are some day. 

I wish you could have had more time with Addie. That’s my biggest regret. She’s amazing. Her laugh is infectious and her smile can light up a room. Kind of like you. You would love her. And I know she would have loved you in all your Oma glory. As I write this, I am sitting in the park with Addie sleeping in her stroller on a sunny San Francisco day, crying that you’re not here with us. I cry a lot these days. I’m often struck by waves of emptiness, a feeling I have never experienced before in this way. It’s different than missing you. Because if it was just missing you, I would know I could see you again one day. But I know I can’t. I’ll only see you in pictures and in my mind. And that will have to suffice. 

So many beautiful Mother’s Day photos and sentiments on Facebook. You loved Facebook. You were hilarious at Facebook. There will never be anyone like you on Facebook ever again, that is for sure. You could bring people joy even on Facebook. You were one of a kind. I know your bedroom has shoeboxes full of cards I gave you through the years. One day I might be able to bring myself to go through them. Not yet. But I did find this watercolor painting I gave you when I was really young. It was in a pile of bills and documents I was going through after you died. It was in a box near the couch where you left everything as if you had just gotten up to go get groceries. I don’t think you knew you would never come back to that couch. I don’t think you knew you would never come back home to Dad. I don’t think you knew you would never be able to hug us again. I didn’t either. You left us too soon. Before I could even say goodbye to you in person. Knowing you, you probably did that on purpose. You probably didn’t want me to see you without your face on. But what you probably didn’t realize is that I will always see what is behind that stunning face. Your heart, your soul, your tenacity, your strength, your courage, your strong will, and your endless love.

I love you, too.

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