That sounds like such a long time, doesn’t it? Two years …
I mean, if you think about it, a lot can happen in just two years, right?
A recession, a change of presidents, a change of eras … In two years, I’ve learned that there are some people who I should be able to trust but cannot and others who I didn’t trust who have since proved that they are sincere. In two years, I’ve realized that little boys can and do grow up to be young men. In two years, I’ve found that some people whom I have considered friends are more like family. In two years, I’ve found that some family are not worthy of that distinction.
In two years, I’ve learned what it is like to lose a good friend disguised as a pet. In two years, I’ve learned to open my heart to other pets that have needed me almost as much as I needed them. I’ve learned that to truly be happy in this world, you have to let go of things that just don’t matter. In two years, I’ve learned to hold onto those things that really, really do.
In two years, I’ve laughed, and I’ve cried. In two years, I’ve wondered if I’d be able to open my eyes in the morning without worrying about things that I cannot control. In two years, I’ve realized time and again that my best friend is the man I married. In two years, I’ve come to understand that it’s all right to see him cry, too.
There’s just one thing that has remained the same over the course of two years. It is a strange thing, I think, that in those same two years that have molded me, the constant sense of loss is still there. Oh, I don’t cry very often anymore. I can smile when I remember, and I can laugh at the funny things. I can see things with more clarity than I saw back then, too. I suppose that it’s a normal thing, isn’t it?
The sun still rises, and the sun still sets. The moon goes through its phases in the midst of a starry sky. Sometimes I sit beside her grave, and I think that everything really is all right. Maybe it’s because I can feel her more now than I did two years ago. I’d like to think that she’s our angel now, that incredible woman that we knew as “mom”. Though we cannot hear her voice any longer, we can still feel her presence. It’s always there, in the touch of the breeze that ruffles your hair. It’s there in the sigh when the light of the world touches the darker hues of the descending night, and that night is no longer a scary place. It has been tempered by a gentleness that came from her, or so I like to think.
I’d like to think that she’s happier now—happier because she can watch over all of those she held dear, not just the ones she could see, and I know without a doubt at all that she is still here, and if that is so, then there is one thing that I need to say.
Mom, I want to thank you: thank you for welcoming me into your family, thank you for smiling when you could’ve cried, for laughter and for understanding. Thank you for the gentle advice and the times when you said nothing at all. How did you know when I just needed someone to listen? How did you know when I needed you to tell me to stop feeling sorry for myself? And I am ashamed to admit that I didn’t say ‘thank you’ nearly enough, especially when I realize that the single greatest thing that you did for me was something that I never got to thank you for. For that man I married, the one I love: I thank you for him most of all. Through your guidance and your love, you helped him to become the person I adore, and if I have one regret, it’s that I didn’t hug you one more time, that I didn’t tell you that I held you in the highest of regard.
Two years have passed since you slipped out of our lives, but … but you’re still here, aren’t you, Mom? So I won’t say goodbye now, either. Instead I’ll smile when I look up into the clear blue sky. When I hear my children laugh, I’ll think of you then, too, and I’ll try every day to remember that one day, I want to be a guardian for those I leave behind, just like you are.