My mind travels back in time to a sunny morning almost 18 years ago when prompted for a moment that changed my life forever. It was a morning which began much like any other. I rolled out of bed prepared to feed the cat, and see to the needs of my mom, whom I had taken care of ever since her kidneys failed over a year before. Five months later came the earth shattering diagnosis that she had multiple myeloma and the disease had spread all over her body. Over the course of the following months, I had become her caretaker and constant companion. She was not only my mom, but my best friend. We did everything together. We always had. I loved her unconditionally and would have done anything for her.
Even though she had a fatal disease, she was always optimistic and her attitude was infectious. She wanted to live more than anything and was determined to beat the odds. She often told me that she had so many things that she still wanted to do that there was no way in hell she would be checking out anytime soon. She had come so close to death and then would make a miraculous recovery. I never imagined life without her. She was only 51. She was to young to die. I believed her. I had no reason to believe she wouldn’t live till a ripe old age. In hindsight, I realize, I was in denial.
After feeding the cat I walked over to where she was sleeping. I spoke to her, but she didn’t respond. Again I called out to her, and touched her face. That is when I knew. Terror filled my heart as the realization dawned that she was gone from me forever. I was all alone! I didn’t know what to do! I ran to the phone and dialed my next door neighbor telling them to come quick. They came, and confirmed my worst fears. She was gone forever and there was nothing I could do to bring her back.
That summer day my life changed forever. I emerged broken and lost. That was the day I was forced to grow up. That was the day that changed the course of my life forever because I was forced to discover what it was like to be truly alone and stand on my own two feet. I was forced to find out who I was to become, where I was meant to be, and what direction my life was meant to take. I had to live for me. From that moment on, I was never the same person again.
The day my mom died, was in essence the day my life began. Never again would I assume that people would live forever just because I wanted them to. I finally learned that death is just another necessary facet of life in which we all must one day face. I learned life is about changes and nothing ever stays the same.