Three years ago today, I was having coffee for the first time in our new house, when my dad called to tell me that my mom had died.
It seemed so unexpected, but in reality, it was not.
On that day and the days that immediately followed, the grief was fresh and raw. I tried to imagine what I might feel like after a year or two, or even three.
Well, now here I am—three years out—and I can honestly say that I’ve done a lot of healing.
I have found a way to move forward with my life.
I have found a way to grow from what I’ve been through.
I have been able to find joy and meaning in my life again.
I have been able to turn my pain into my purpose.
I have not only rediscovered parts of myself that had gone missing, but I have also created an entirely new version of myself—one that has more wisdom and gratitude than my pre-Alzheimer’s self ever did.
I have done all of these things and yet, I still grieve deeply.
I still yearn for my mom’s touch.
I still yearn to hear her voice.
I still think about my mom every day.
I still cry myself to sleep some nights.
I still struggle to make sense of everything she had to go through and everything we had to lose.
And I still struggle to reconcile the life I have with the life I had always imagined I would have.
My mom died when I was 35 years old.
That’s something I never even considered might happen when I was younger.
But now I know.
And it always begs the question, what else don’t I know yet?
I try to live my life the best I can, knowing that life is short and you never know what tomorrow might bring.
And I try to honor my mom the best I can, knowing that sometimes that means doing exactly the opposite of what she would have done.
But I still grieve.
Grief is a lifelong process. It’s never linear. It’s two steps forward and one step back. And sometimes you don’t even walk—you crawl.
Sometimes you just hold on for dear life, hoping you don’t fall off the path, while knowing that even if you do, you’ll somehow find your way again.
The same goes for life.
Three years since my mom died and her death is still the greatest life lesson I have ever learned.
And I am forever grateful to have known and experienced the purest form of unconditional love.
Mom, I will always love and miss you terribly, and I will never stop trying to make you proud.
Thank you for being you.
Thank you for loving me.
Thank you for changing my life.
*If this post resonated with you, you should consider joining the Alzheimer’s Daughters Club!
**If you liked this post, you would love my book “When Only Love Remains: Surviving My Mom’s Battle with Early Onset Alzheimer’s.” It’s available on all Amazon marketplaces.