So Close Now

A few days ago I woke up at 5am. I washed my face. Changed out of my pajamas. And sat down at my vanity to put on my face.

The sun was only just peeking over the horizon, but several of my windows face east, so I opened the curtains and the blinds and bathed our room with golden light as our earth’s star ascended. The house was still and quiet, but for one of our cats clicking his nails on the hardwood floors, back and forth for absolutely no reason, or at least none I could discern.

My mind roamed and my memories turned over like new ground broken up and ready for sewing. Foundation, concealer, eyeshadows, lashes, every piece of the ensemble carefully applied and adjusted and blended and baked. Blush and bronzer. Lipstick and mascara. 

I completed my task, looked into my mirror, then bent over and began to cry.

In two weeks my mother will have been dead a year. 

There’s so much I wish I could tell her. This entire part of my life, for example. The makeup, the beauty blogging, the nails, the…the everything. I wish I could tell her everything. I wish I could hear her cheering me on. I wish she was still here for me to do her makeup for her. I wish I’d learned to do this all sooner. I’d have drawn her eyebrows on when the chemo made them fall away. I’d have kissed her cheeks with blusher when the cancer pulled the color out. I’d have given anything of mine to keep her here with me. And I couldn’t. And I still can’t.

And in one month it will have been a year since I wrapped my fingers in hers, sang hymns over her body, and listened wordlessly to labored breathing as her soul departed. It will have been a year since I was sitting on my aunt’s front porch, my brother leaning down beside me, his hand on my shoulder, quietly saying, “She’s passed on, Tamara. Mom passed away.”

I wasn’t there that very moment. I don’t know if I regret this or not. I know she wasn’t alone. I know the man she loved was with her. And I know each of her children got to say goodbye. But, there will never be enough time for all the goodbyes because I never believed I would have to tell her those goodbyes. I thought she would beat the cancer. I wanted to believe she could.

Cancer was always something that happened to someone else’s mother. And then it became the something that happened to mine. And in one month it will have been one year since the cancer took her life.

In therapy we learned to prepare for the big days like this. “Holidays are hard. Anniversaries too. Especially the year marks. Try to remember this. Prepare for them. It will make it easier.” So, I guess my heart is preparing. I suppose my mind knows what I need. But, it’s all not enough. Grief will never be the life sentence I wanted. What I need is my mom. And she is gone from me.

So, sometimes I wake up, I paint my face, then shortly thereafter I cry it all off again. I invest in waterproof mascaras. And I’ve got a setting spray that holds everything in place pretty well. These little things that help me feel like life is normal in some way.

Even though almost a year ago my life forever changed. And sometimes it be that way.

Today’s Song Of The Day – “Family Tree” by Jewel 

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