Who Knew…

I sat there, just thinking….remembering really.  Remembering what it was like before she was gone, what it was like when she was still here.  How at Christmas she always, always, knew exactly what everyone wanted.  She didn’t have to ask, I know she never asked me what I wanted, or my girlfriend for that matter.  But, every year when we opened our presents, the smiles that she saw from us must have lit her up.  She wouldn’t say it did, it wasn’t her style to talk about her feelings……well at least not until she found out…

So there I was sitting on her bench in the cemetery the other day.  My thoughts drifting off to times when I was able to take her for granted, times when I wasted our time together.   I always just assumed there’d be time; assumed what wasn’t said today could be said tomorrow.  But at some point, there is no tomorrow.  No time to say everything that you’ve been saving up for years, putting off…

I’m glad I did get a chance to say some of the things that had been bottled up inside me, I don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t.  I don’t pretend to know everything, honestly, I don’t pretend to know much of anything at all really.  This much I know, nothing I’ve ever heard is truer than this.  You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.  I know what I had now…..I certainly didn’t before.

About a year and a half ago I left work.  I was driving home, listening to the radio, when my phone rang.  I looked at the call display and it was my brother, so I answered it.  He sounded……different than he normally did.  I don’t remember the exact words he used but, basically he told me that I needed to turn around and go to my parents house.  I knew right then, even though I wouldn’t admit it to myself, but I knew that it was….I don’t know how to say it.

I don’t remember a whole lot about that day, but I do remember that as soon as I hung up the phone and did a u-turn, a song came on the radio.  ‘Who Knew’ by Pink.  A song I’d heard a couple of times before but never really cared for all that much.  A few days or weeks before that day, my girlfriend had told me what the song was about.  One of Pink’s friends had committed suicide apparently and she wrote this song about it.  I remember as clear as day listening to that song on the ride home…well, to my parents home.  I think it was the first time I ever really heard the words that she was singing.

A couple months earlier I bought my first house.  She came with me when I bought it, making a joke, asking me, “How does it feel to spend a quarter million dollars?”.  She would get a chance to come to my new home once after I moved in…..just once.  I was so happy that she got to see me in my first home, I was so proud of myself as I imagine she must have been.  It breaks my heart to know that she will never get to come back here, never get to see me get married, never get to see me do any number of things…

She had been healthy for the most part her whole life, she is one of the strongest women I know.  She didn’t tell me but she had been getting headaches for a few weeks, so she went to get her self looked at by a doctor.  She had a follow-up appointment that we all went to, where they told her she had cancer.  They gave her two weeks to live.  Two weeks…

How do you wrap up your life in two weeks?  How do you go from being perfectly healthy, perfectly happy one day…….to having two weeks to live the next?  How?

She was brave, braver than I could ever be.  She wanted to be at home, she wanted to be surrounded by her family, the people she loved.  She was, surrounded and loved.  She fought and turned two weeks into four.  Four painful and heartbreaking weeks of watching cancer take hold of her.

I told her I loved her more in those four weeks than I did in the thirty years before that.

I’ve never lost anyone close to me, nobody that I really cared about like that.  I…

She passed away at home, I got to give her a last kiss hours before she passed.  I wish I could give her another.  I wish I could see her again, see her one last time.  She never scared me.  She scared so many other people, my friends, my boss, girlfriends.  She was always sweet to me though, I was the youngest so I guess I was her baby.

I was working on a new website when she got sick, and she passed away before it was finished.  So I added a secret page to it in remembrance of her.  I’ve never told anybody that.  Nobody.  Other than me there isn’t a person in the world who has ever viewed that page.  I know because I can track views for it, and I’ve put some security to make sure it’s hidden.  That makes me feel good that it’s something special between us, but at the same time I feel the need to share it, share it with someone.  I love my family and friends but, I don’t know….I’d rather not share it with them.  Does that sound selfish or mean?  I hope not, it’s not meant to…

If anyone would like to see that page, I can’t bring myself to put a link to it here but, I would be willing to email it to you with instructions on how to get to it.  I don’t know, it’s been a year and a half and I guess I’m sort of ready to share.

I still listen to that song, ‘Who Knew’, when I drive home from work sometimes.  I turn it up as loud as I can and sing along…..loudly.  Come to think of it I’ve never told anyone what that song means to me either……I guess the healing process is beginning.  I hope my mom would be proud.

Okay, let me just grab some Kleenex and I’ll hit Publish.  I won’t even try to pretend it’s the cold I have…

Love you Mom


2 thoughts on “Who Knew…

  1. This is beautiful, but so sad to read. I feel for you so much and I have no words really. . . The only thing I can share is that I do understand. My mom died many many years ago and, the truth is, the pain of it all never goes away, you just get used to it. But what I have learned is that when the healing begins, you start to remember more the beautiful moments, the good times, more than the sadness.

    I think the page to your mom should be reveald not when someone asks to see it (because we would all want to know this wonderful woman you loved so much) but, you should share it when you are ready period.

    Thank you for sharing this. Thank you.


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