(the above print can be purchased here)
Debbie was my husbands mother. What I learned of her in the short year and a half that I knew her and from all the stories that are still told of her, she was one amazingly vivacious lady. I think about Debbie often and I would have to say even more so now, since I have children of my own. She left this earth for a far better place on October 7th, 2002. It’s still so hard to believe that so much time has passed. So, I especially think of her this time of year and my brain cannot help to think about how it would be if she was still here on this earth.
Now, please know that I love my step-in laws (that sounds so weird, but you know what I mean) very much. They have touched our lives in so many ways. I have a special bond with them as do the boys. They mean the world to us. This post is to not suggest otherwise…I trust in God’s plan and have faith in Him even when I don’t understand why certain things happen.
With that being said, there are many moments where I so miss Debbie. I miss her while I am holding my Oliver, my little Aber, my Ollie-V, & rocking him to sleep. I nestle my head right next to his and I wish I could put into words for Sam the love that I am 100% sure that she felt for him and his siblings. Sometimes, I feel as if my heart will explode with emotion, that my body will burst. No one but a mother can explain that overwhelming sense of love, protection, udder joy, and that bond; that unbreakable bond that a mother has with her child.
Sam had some wilderness show on tv the other night and I am not really a fan of those shows because I hate watching the poor defenseless animals get hurt or worse, eaten. But, he told me all the animals would be fine so I watched for a bit. I saw an enormous brown bear and her 3 cubs. She was encouraging them to climb up the trees because a male bear who was looking for a nice meal was on the prowl. Apparently, male bears, if they are hungry enough will even eat their own kind, especially cubs if the opportunity arises. Well, that mama bear…let me tell you…she came out towards that male bear with everything she had. That male bear DID NOT want to mess with her. It was literally one of the craziest things I have ever seen…but I so related to this mama bear. She was willing to do anything, even if it killed her to protect her babies. That is what I want Sam to know…that his mama loved him SO much and SO intensely. Obviously, he knows that she loved him. But there are moments…either when Sam is defeated, stressed, faced with a challenge or just plain excited…that I wish that I could portray to him exactly how much she loved him and how special she thought he was. It is those times where I not only look at him as his wife, but through the eyes of a mother.
I miss her on Sam’s birthdays and any holiday, for that matter, that he cannot get a phone call from his mother telling him how much she loves him or how proud she is of who he has become. Oh, how I know she would be so proud. Sam and I were together on 9/11 and his phone rang seconds after the 2nd plane went into the World Trade Center…it was his mom just calling to tell him that she loved him. Then we all sat in silence as did the rest of the nation.
I miss her when I am having those “I just need to talk to my mom” days…you know those days where only the comfort of your mom will help. Whether it’s her loving embrace or her words full of wisdom to help you with whatever is in your way. I miss her then because I wish Sam was able to do the same.
And then I daydream…you see Sam has told me on many occasions that his mother was pretty crafty, loved to go antiquing, and was even known to paint furniture. I think about all the similarities we shared, but, because our time was so short together, we never really got the chance to fully understand how much we had in common. There are many times where I imagine us leaving the boys at home to fend for themselves and then driving to a little town filled to the brim with antique stores. It is always just me and her laughing, talking, and oohing and ahhing over the treasures we would find. You see, there was one occasion that Sam and I went into town and she asked for us to take her antiquing. I wish I could remember the town we went to…Sam cannot remember either. But, it was a gorgeous day and I remember we drove with the windows down. We really didn’t talk a whole lot on the way there…we all just enjoyed the drive, the breeze, and the beauty of everything outside our windows. It was fall and the leaves were just starting to change, so we were just taking everything in…I remember the feeling of the sun warming my legs during the drive down and laughing when Sam pointed out to his mother that I was just as bad of a backseat driver as she was. And we talked about seatbelts…you see at that time, Sam wasn’t super great about wearing them and I always had to remind him. Now, I am happy to say it’s the first thing he does when he gets in the car…your welcome Debbie 😉 But, here’s the thing…I only remember going into one antique store with her…and only a small little glimpse is all my brain will give me. I know we went to several stores so why on earth can I not remember more than this one snapshot in my mind? It’s so strange…
I miss her when I look at Henry and can see Sam. I think about her looking at her grandchild and seeing her son. I think about all those sweet memories of Sam as a little boy come rushing back to her all because she saw the little twinkle in Henry’s eye.
I will say, though, one of the best memories that I have had with her and still can remember every detail of it to this day, was actually around the year anniversary of her passing. We were at some sort of party in someone’s living room that I was not familiar with. It was gorgeous, glistening white and very ornate. I remember white walls, white carpet and there were things on the wall…it wasn’t bare, but that was not what I was focused on. You see, both Debbie and I were sitting on white furniture. She was on a beautiful white couch and I was opposite of her on a white ottoman. We were in the middle of a conversation and when I turned my head I saw my mother and Sam. And she was telling my mother how much she liked me and how happy she was that Sam had found me and me him. But, she was looking straight at me like she wanted me to hear it. And then I could hear my mothers voice telling her how happy she was for the very same reason. They both went on to say what they both loved about each of us and how well we were together and then I woke up. I woke up smiling, but quickly realized that it was just a dream. I immediately closed my eyes trying to will my body to go back to sleep in that very dream. I wanted to tell her how much everyone missed her. But in my dream, she was there, still present. In my dream, she never had passed…she was still with us.
I woke Sam up and told him every detail and I remember his reaction being so strange. He seemed a little shaken up…it wasn’t until less than two weeks later that I realized why. We had just gotten engaged and were excitingly talking about how nervous he was, when he knew, when he found the ring, how he had it all planned out, etc…(I will never forget his proposal…it was perfect, like something out of a novel, but a whole nother story for another time). Anyway, he had been holding onto the ring for a couple of months knowing he was going to propose, but just trying to find the right way to go about it. He told me later, the reason he reacted the way he did to my dream was because it was exactly like the type of conversation that my mom, his mom and the two of us would have had together after the proposal had she still been here. He said he didn’t know how to handle it…it was so comforting yet hit him such an impact that all he wanted to do was process it. We still talk about that to this day.
So, Debbie, we will hold onto those memories and perhaps dream of what it could have been like, but we all know you are still very much with us.