I’ve thought about how I wanted to start this post for… the last couple of weeks. It has weighed heavily on my mind for months, this gaping loss. I know we didn’t talk often, but just knowing you were there if I ever needed you was enough. You were the one person that got me through high school in one piece and the lessons you taught me still resonate through me today. I wanted to remember you with words… beautiful words that would do your life justice.
But I don’t want to force those words, not right now. So, soon, I’ll illustrate something for you, something beautiful and magical and that I will treasure for the rest of my days.
For now, on the anniversary of your passing, I just want to talk.
Dear Mrs. B,
How are you doing? Is it wrong of me to ask that? I know, I know, don’t laugh at me as I bumble my way through this.
I can hear your laughter ringing in my ears. It’s been too long since I heard it last.
There are so many things I want to ask you: Does it hurt? Is there anything after this? What really happens when we die? and so on and so forth, but I know you can’t answer me. So I’ll stop asking questions now, if that’s ok with you.
I won’t lie and say I think about you every day, because I don’t. I don’t think about you specifically, but the lessons you’ve taught me. I hear your voice as I process the things happening in my life, and ask myself: ‘Would Mrs. B be proud of this decision?’ Would you be disappointed in me, or would you tell me I made the right choice. You face always swim into the front of my mind as I consider things and I always have to stop.
I’ll be at my job, in the bathroom, thinking about a serious problem. And out of the blue, you’ll just be there. Sometimes I can imagine you standing behind me, telling me to stop being such an idiot. Usually I just close my eyes and go to a different place. It’s always for a brief moment, not even a minute. But time always stands still when I think about you.
I like to think you would be proud of me and the decisions I’ve made so far. It took me a while, but I think I’ve finally grasped everything you tried to teach me in high school. You took me under your wing, nurtured me with so many valuable lessons, most of which I didn’t understand at the time.
You were my mother. Not just for four years, but from that first moment on.
When I first walked into the room to sign-up for soccer, I already knew you. Do you remember that day? I was so nervous, so scared. I knew so much about you, had seen you in Chatterton, but had never really interacted with you. And you knew me. You were waiting for me to get to high school to be a part of your team. I didn’t know what you had in store for me at the time, but for everything you did, I’m grateful.
I bumbled my way through conditioning, through all of the exercises, running and pushing to put the team together. And then you put me on the Varsity team. I was shocked, to say the least. I don’t think I ever told you that. And then, you made my head spin when our first game, you started me in the goal. I know you didn’t have another goal keeper, but to me, at the age of 14, to have someone put that much faith/trust into you was a shock.
And then I got kicked in the head in the first five minutes. But, I stayed in and we won that game. I pushed through the pain and the suffering because of you. You had put your faith in me but I didn’t feel like I had earned it. And I wanted to earn it.
I spent that entire freshman season trying to feel adequate. I pushed and fought against my fear, nerves and anxiety. Every time I stepped onto the field fear flooded in my veins. By our third game, I knew all I had to do was look over at you and the anxiety would ease.
This is probably what I am most thankful for, because it was through you that I learned how to be confident. To never treat myself as second best, but always first in my own mind. And to be confident, the most important thing I needed to have was faith in myself. Your unwavering faith in me gave me the ability to eventually grow to have faith in myself.
I have wavered… some days I just don’t believe in myself, but then I remember you and everything that you taught me. And I remember all of these lessons you taught me. Though they were often small, very brief morsels, they have had such a profound impact on my life.
I’ve never talked about this before, but I felt like it was something that you should know. You taught me more than my own mother did at this important age.
I can see your face right now in my head, but please don’t look at me like that, you know it’s true.
That’s why I feel like everything I ever write about you will be inadequate. I don’t think I have the capabilities of capturing how beautiful a person you were, inside and out.
We would go months without seeing each other, but when I saw you each time after graduating, it was like I had never left. Like it was just another normal day, like we had soccer practice in an hour and school had just finished. You always welcomed me into your arms, let me complain about my life and gave me the advice I still cherish to this day.
I still can’t believe you’re gone. I’ll never forget that evening. When I got the news it was really late at night and it took an hour or so for it to really sink in. Death has never affected me much… you know I don’t really like to cry.
I cried harder than I have ever before when it really hit me. I was behind the wheel of my car, openly sobbing for you. I’ve never been so upset or distraught to lose someone in my life… it was really like I had lost my mother. I drove to my mother’s house to get pictures, I needed something physical to remind me of you. I dug out my blanket from storage, wrapped myself in it… in our memories and cried for a long time.
I know I’m getting long and windy, so I’ll end this here. I’ll never forget you Mrs. B. You live inside my memories, your words and voice a constant reminder to live my life to the fullest. To go toward my dreams and achieve them. I know you’ll always support me, whether you’re here physically or not. And I’ll do everything I can to make you proud.
Wait for me. I’m sure we’ll have many great stories to share once again.