Today would've been my parents' 35th wedding anniversary.
It hurts to type.
There is so much I haven't said that I want to say about my mom's life and about her death and the cause and effect its had on my life. I often wax poetic about my childhood because I grew up in a little bubble of sorts... my life was far from perfect but I had it pretty good: I went to a day school for my entire adolescence that I was happy and comfortable at, I lived within driving distance of all four grandparents and had the chance to spend ample time with all of them: Shabbat dinner on Friday nights with my dad's parents and dinner at The Palm on Sunday nights with my mom's. We lived in the cutest little house and I had nice friends. We took weekend road trips up and down the Florida coast. I didn't want for anything. And most importantly of all: I thought my parents were the two best people in the world and I felt so fortunate that they were mine.
Growing up sheltered also meant I was a scaredy cat, though; I was afraid of pretty much everything. I cried a lot! Other than school, I didn't like to be without my parents for prolonged periods of time. When they went on a date night, I would stay up late until they got home or I would just go to sleep in their room when the babysitter wasn't watching. Don't get me wrong: I was a fun, loud kid with endless energy. I loved life. I was just very attached to my mom and dad. I even said once when I was very young, "Do I have to get married someday? I just wanna live with you guys forever!" Life in our house was always fun.
Oddly enough, the one thing in life I never feared was losing them. My parents were so present in my life that the notion of one or both of them dying was one that I was very easily able to push away on the rare occasion it entered my mind. When they sat my sister and I down over two years ago to tell us she was sick, I didn't even let myself cry because losing her seemed impossible. I was absolutely sure she would beat the odds and that she'd be fine. She was one tough cookie. I wasn't too worried.
My whole life, I've felt very lucky. But six months later when things began to get very bad, I lay awake at night wondering if my luck was running out. For the first time, I had to deal with the very real possibility of losing a parent. Deep down in my heart, I knew she could die and I started to mentally prepare myself for the worst. I finally allowed myself to face my greatest fear of all.
Today my parents' would've celebrated 35 years of married life together - 35 years of love, of fun, of imperfection. They were and will always be the greatest, happiest couple I've ever known.
In twelve days I'll walk down the aisle, hand-in-hand with my dad, to start the next chapter of my life. To get married without my mom standing on the other side of me will undoubtedly be one of the hardest things I ever have to do. I miss her so much it hurts everyday, but especially now - when she's not here to help me get in my dress, to hold my hand, to stand beside me on the day we always dreamed of. To give me away.
So if you see me sad, or cry, or fall apart a little bit these next twelve days, know that I do know how lucky I am. Lucky to have had her as my mom for as long as I did. Lucky that she got to know - and fall in love with - Ben, and that he adored her equally. Lucky to be marrying a wonderful man who has stood by my side through triumph and tragedy, goodness and grief. My mom may not physically be at our wedding, but her presence will be known in so many ways - including but not limited to our color palette (the same as my parents' wedding in 1980) and the flowers (orchids, her very favorite). She's not here and it isn't fair but I won't let that trump the fortune I feel to have had her as my mother.
Happy Anniversary, Mommy. I miss you so much.