I lost one of my best friends in the world on April 10, 2019, and now a once-bright corner of my heart grows dim. My mother, Kathy, had more capacity for love and empathy than any human being I’ve ever met. Without her in my life anymore, my chest aches in an excruciating and unfamiliar way, and I don’t know what I’m supposed to do with all this pain. I still can’t believe she’s gone.
Mom was sweet, and kind, and had the most amazing sense of humor. Not only was she funny, but she was the best audience to have around because she would legitimately laugh at even your worst jokes or puns. As intelligent as she was, and believe me, she was, she’d also laugh so hard at a stupid fart joke that she’d snort, which only made her laugh harder, and before you knew it, the whole room would be in tears, laughing with her.
Mom loved many things in life. Among her favorites was her faith, the Beatles, lighthouses, cows, Ghost Adventures, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Hallmark movies (especially the Christmas ones, which she’d watch year-round), reading, thimbles, drives out to the coast, Harry Potter, crocheting, and Animal Crossing. Oh, you bet your ass, Animal Crossing. She’d paid off Tom Nook so long ago that she took her bells to her grand kids’ towns and started paying down their debts, too.
As silly as it is, it’s also a perfect example of quintessential Mom. Whatever she had in life, be it in the real world, or a virtual one with a cat and hippopotamus for neighbors, she wanted to share it with everyone. I’ll never forget the time we’d all just sat down to dinner as a family and were interrupted by a door-to-door salesperson. Everyone was so annoyed, except Mom, who instead invited the guy in to join us.
Now, you might be tempted to think this happened years ago when neighborhoods were all a bit safer, right? Nope. This was just last year, and for the record, the guy politely declined. We teased Mom relentlessly, of course, insisting that he was likely more afraid of her than we were of him.
As dear as she held all of her favorite things, there’s nothing she loved more than her family. If given a choice between wealth, world peace, a cure for cancer, or a Sunday afternoon at her house surrounded by family, she wouldn’t have even hesitated to pick. You could’ve presented her with that same scenario a million times, and her choice would’ve always remained the same: she wanted to spend as much time with her loved ones as possible. I’m so grateful that I was able to see her and talk to her nearly every day during our last year together.
In the days since Mom passed, the family has received countless messages, emails, and cards of condolence. Mom touched so many people in her life, and as we’ve read through all the notes, one common theme has emerged: everyone had their own special relationship with her. Somehow, regardless of how well she knew them, she was capable of being all things to all people, and she wasn’t even trying. She did it happily, with a smile on her face, because she genuinely cared. Mom was the Michael Jordan of caring.
No matter how hard you try not to think about it, somewhere in the back of your mind from an early age, you always know that this day is coming, but it sure doesn’t make preparing yourself for the inevitability any easier. The loss my family has suffered is immeasurable, and the impact of her absence will be felt for the rest of our days. However, if there is any comfort to be had at all, it’s in knowing that her and I are so much alike, and now I have the honor and privilege of carrying her with me. Perhaps I will use this opportunity to try and be even more like her.
If I can leave you with one thing, it’s this: time is shorter than you think, even when it feels like it will last forever. Don’t let it go to waste. Love harder. Dream bigger. Savor all your special moments. And never let an opportunity to tell someone how much they mean to you pass you by.
I love you with all my heart, Mom, and I will miss you forever.