To say it happened suddenly isn't entirely true. Yes, the event that led to her death was completely unexpected, but she didn't succumb until 15 days later. And I held out hope until the very end. After all, she was small but mighty and I never thought I would ever have to say goodbye.
I've suffered through other losses in my life, and each one hurt in its own unique way. But it was at the time of my mother's death that I really felt the distance between this life and the next. At that moment, even though I wholeheartedly believed in the afterlife, I was confronted with the fact that my mother was gone from this earth and enjoying the splendor of Heaven...and I couldn't quite grasp that concept. All of a sudden it was as if I was Here and she was There and I needed to find the string that would connect us again.
I had never felt so alone.
What is it about our mothers that is so very special? My mother wasn't perfect (although she was in many ways a saint) but she was the only mother I ever needed or wanted. Her death left a hole in my heart that no other human can fill. I'm sure my siblings would probably say the same thing.
There have been so many times in the past decade when I thought I couldn't possibly go on. Those were the times I needed my mother the most. I needed to have her on my side when my husband and I argued about how best to raise our grand/daughters. I longed to hear her tell me one more time that I am a good mother in spite of what the children say. And maybe because I knew I no longer could, I desperately wanted to tell her how much she meant to me. How much she meant to us all. How dearly we loved her and appreciated everything she did for everybody she knew.
So in my prayers tonight, after I thank God for the many wonderful things He's already done for me, I'll ask Him to please tell my mother that I love her and miss her with all my heart. And then I'll thank God again for blessing me with the imperfect mother He knew would be perfect for me.