I had originally planned to write about spending yesterday evening with my exboyfriend — my first love, the man who I was so sure I’d marry, who smashed my tiny heart to bits — and his current girlfriend, who, by-the-way, is really nice. But instead, this morning my iPod changed all of that…
I had picked what I thought would be a non-eventful, easy to listen to playlist… and then partway through my walk to work this came on: Death Cab for Cutie – What Sarah Said [mp3]…. (Feel free to click that link to hear it, or save it… or I’ve attempt to include a embed file at the bottom of this post if you want to hear it without navigating away).
I’m no stranger to this song, and it stopped me in my mental tracks flooding my mind with thoughts and memories of my late stepmother, Karen. I’ve previously written about my stepmom’s passing here: two years on… It was the anniversary of her death, a time when I’m mentally and emotionally prepared to deal with the fact that she’s gone. But on days like today, when it hits you unexpectedly, regardless of how many years it has been or how many times in the past you’ve cried uncontrollably… it hits just as hard.
I was at school when she went into the hospital. I believe it was my mother who called in the morning and told me she went in… I was at the Hub, attempting to work on that week’s issue of the college paper when my grandmother called later that night. I stumbled out of one of the offices, failing to fight back tears, and sought out my good friend Megan, barely able to form the words “She only has hours to live…” I was in my room, finally asleep after hours crying, when she finally passed early that morning. I called my grandmother when I woke up to confirm the solemn news. I then settled my business at school, packed my bags, and then drove the few hours west to my father’s house.
Since Karen’s diagnosis in 2005, while I was away in China, until her death in 2006 I had seen her only three or four times. She never lost faith that God would save her, would heal her… would cure the cancer that took her life. Regrettably, my faith wasn’t that strong. Even with my lack of faith, even knowing how sick she was, I was completely unprepared when she left us.
I sometimes wonder why I didn’t leave when I first heard the news she was admitted. Why I didn’t try to spend a few more moments with her. Why I wasn’t there with my father and my sisters, who watched what they knew as their beloved wife and mother convulse in the bed before fading away.
I know that I can’t live in regret for not being with her. And though these instances when the faulty camera in my mind brings back fragmented memories of my time with her, although they are painful, her memory still brings me joy. And that I’m blessed to have had her in my life.