26 days ago, on October 17, my mom passed away. Since that day, I’ve been nothing but a constant emotional roller coaster. I’ve gone through this seemingly, never-ending cycle, of being “alright” one minute, but then the next minute, I’m completely falling apart again. Up until today, my mother’s passing still didn’t feel completely real to me. Don’t get me wrong, I knew she was never coming back. I just think there was a part of me holding out on the hope that none of this was real. That it was all just a long, terrible, nightmare I would eventually wake up from.
Today ended up being the day that I stumbled upon the realization that my mom was gone. She was never coming back. The incident that led to this was probably as mundane as it gets. Now that I am thinking about it, I can’t believe that this didn’t happen sooner than it did.
The previous day, my sister and a friend of ours, decided that we were going to go out of town in the morning to do a little bit of early christmas shopping. One thing led to another, and I found myself sitting in my friends driveway. I was just sitting there, waiting for her to get back home from dropping off the kids to school. At the time I didn’t know she was going to be as late as she ended up being, but anyways, I ended up picking up my cell phone to pass the time. After unlocking my phone screen, a warning popped up on my phone prompting me to delete some old voicemail messages because my memory was 90% full. So I went to where my voicemails were, and started listening to old voicemails.
Without even thinking, I went to the oldest message I had on my phone, but I apparently ignored the fact that it was a voicemail from my moms cell phone she had. Suddenly, I found myself practically engulfed in the sound of hearing my moms raspy voice singing “happy birthday” to me seemingly out of nowhere. I looked down at my phone and saw that this particular voicemail was left by my mom at 6:42 AM, on May 19,2015, making it the morning of my 23rd birthday.
The message was only 48 seconds long, but at that moment, it felt like the message lasted an eternity. When I say it felt like it lasted an eternity, I want you to understand that I mean that in the best way possible. It had been 26 days, possibly even more, since the last time I had gotten to hear the sound of my moms voice. At the time, this unexpected surprise was pretty much completely pleasant. That is until that 48 seconds was over.
After singing happy birthday to me on that voicemail, this is how she finished up the rest of her message to me that morning: “Happy Birthday babydoll, 22 years ago…23 years ago, I gave birth to my beautiful baby Catie June. You’ve been such a blessing honey and I love you. Now today you be careful in your comings and goings, Give me a call. I love you. Bye Bye.”
After taking time to recover from the feelings I had after listening to that message, I continued on a mission to listen to every voicemail I had on my phone. My hope was to see if I could find any other voicemail messages from her that I had forgot about. I did come across several other voicemail messages that were shorter than that first message, but nonetheless, I still enjoyed listening to them.
Here’s another one, that was recorded on May 31, 2015 at 4:34PM: “Hey Catie, how’s Corrie? Text me and call me. I need to talk to her. Her message thing isn’t set up. I need to talk to her. Bye.”
Anyways, sitting there and listening to those messages, made it painfully clear that the last 26 days hasn’t just been one big nightmare. This really happened. I am only 23 years old, my mom would have turned 52 in just over two weeks, but instead, we had to “celebrate” her birthday without her physically here. Instead, we had to hug the urn that held her ashes, instead of being able to give mom an actual hug or a kiss. No more buying her birthday or christmas present. Instead, you get to stumble across things you would have bought for her, for instance, today I saw plenty of coloring books she would’ve loved to have.
I miss my mommy! I would do anything to be given the chance to tell her that I love her one more time. I would do anything to be given the chance to hug her one last time and to hear her tell me that she loves me. Some might think that I am really lucky to have these recordings to be able to cherish for the rest of my life. I just want those people to know that I more or less wish I didn’t have the recordings. It just makes me miss her even more than before. Not to mention it kind of makes everything even more final. I’m glad I have access to them for the purpose of not wanting to ever forget what an “I love you” from her sounds like. But on the other hand, I’m burdened with the realization that this is one of the very few things I have left to remember my mom by. I’m burdened with knowing that it’s too late to return any of those phone calls, especially if I know that I didn’t try calling her back.
26 days later, I am still heartbroken and sad. I am also a bit remorseful about missing certain chances to spend time with her that I can’t get back. 26 days later, and I realize that even though the heartbreak has been unbearable at times, I still have managed to make it 26 more days. I made the decision to keep fighter, 26 days later, and still counting.