Nathanial Garrod

thoughts on missing my mom

Today is the anniversary of my mothers death. I frequently write on this day – for years it was a summary of the sequence of events. At this point it seems to be largely more focused on thoughts or reflection of the day or last year.

I wrote seven Facebook posts this morning, deleting each as I was un-satisfied with it. They ranged from sharing “The Hospital” by And Then There Were None, to a simple thought or reflection. Everything I tried felt self-aggrandizing, talking about my life circumstances openly and publicly feels attention-seeking.

I ended up on Twitter, because shouting into the void sometimes feels more acceptable than the more focused attention of Facebook.

I guess there is something about knowing that I am reaching a range and maybe some want to engage feels more responsible than sharing with a focused target audience.

For those not in the know – she died of Stage IV breast cancer that was diagnosed far later than it should have been. We had no health care coverage and she was too scared to go to the doctor for… a very long time.

Here is the hardest balance in my life. I wish my mom could meet the friends that have taken me in as one of their own, even if just to thank them for their kindness and generosity. I wish I could show my mom pictures of my trip to the northeast in 2014, or called her from Denmark last year. I wish my mom could be waiting for me at a the finish line of any one of the half marathons I did last year, or gone to lunch with my friends and I after the marathon. I wish she could have seen either of the times I walked across the stage – when I spoke in undergrad, or when I finished my grad degree. I wish she could have been at any of hundreds of life events over the last 12 years. She always encouraged me to follow my dreams, to achieve what I want, to reach for the stars.

My life would not be what it is if she were here. Sure, I have always been fiercely independent. I have always gone and done what I feel is right or important. I have always wanted to go do my own thing. So much of what I have accomplished feels like a “because she was gone,” it feels like opportunities I would not have had if she were here. Connections I would not have made if my mom were still alive. Saying this, even thinking this feels callous, feels like it diminishes the fact that I miss my mom. In my head it seems more rational. It seems more matter-of-fact. I miss my mom, but I know I have had opportunity because of her loss. Balancing this in my heart, explaining this to friends, trying to come to terms with this over 12 years has not been easy. But it becomes increasingly comfortable.

No, I do not get to have my mom at any of those events. I feel that loss, but I have something incredible in its own right. I get to define my world. I get to create my own tribes, my own circles of family. I have friends that spend hours hand-crafting a sign that lights up to cheer for me at the end of the marathon, friends who stand with me as I chug chocolate milk, Gatorade and the occasional beer after a race. I have humans who accept me as one of their own and include me in their family holiday traditions. I have had chances to travel further than I ever hoped, to countries and states I never dreamed as a child I would have an opportunity to visit.

I guess somehow I know that she is proud. That even though she was not at any of those places, she was not at any of those events, she was at all of them through the community I have built that made an effort to come.

And as much as I feel loss, knowing that I have people in my life that have chosen me is pretty cool.


2 Comments on “thoughts on missing my mom

  1. Lynn Prime
    March 30, 2016

    Nathan, your writing and your depth of feeling and thought leave me (almost!) speechless. It’s an honor to be a part of your experience in this way. Loss does innumerable things to and with us, doesn’t it?

  2. jennifernice
    March 30, 2016

    Nathanial – You articulate the blessing and curse of losing a parent so clearly. Your pain and gratitude is raw, and it’s brave of you to share yourself with your readers. Yes, your mom would be very proud of you! She was a true gift to you the short time she walked on this earth.

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This entry was posted on March 29, 2016 by in Memories, Thoughts.