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April 11th. | 15 years later.

Start. Stop. Erase. Start. Stop. Erase. (many more times!)

Thats pretty much how this blog has started off. Today makes 15 years since I lost my mom. I have officially lived my life as long without her as I did with her. This “anniversary” is something I dreaded. This number gave me such anxiety for the longest time. I remember wondering what life would be like having not had her around for such a long time.

You see, this road of grief is a long, winding & hilly journey. Filled with joyful mountain summits and valleys filled with raging waters where at times its unsure if you will ever be able to keep your self from drowning and all the flat plains in between. There is no specific timeline for grief. It doesn’t run its course in the first few months and you go about your day. It comes and goes like tidal waves. I’m pretty sure you can go through the whole grief “process” and years later go through it again. But in these times of highs and times of lows God is there. Although I may not always feel like it and despite my attempts to keep him at a distance, my soul is healed when I carry him near, When I seek him.

Isaiah 43:2  “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”

Last year was a tough year for me. I carried so much anger, anger towards myself, anger towards my mom, and like a tornado it trickled into multiple parts of my life. That anger was sadness disguised. I miss her so much. I thought carrying these angry feelings would make missing her hurt less. How silly of me.

“Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up. You will increase my honor and comfort me once again.” Psalm 71: 20-21

I’ve shared this passage more than once, and I know that no matter what troubles I am faced with, he will restore my life he will give me comfort.

From his birth I shared with Beckett so much about my mom, his mimi. But found that I didn’t do this as much with Arden. I have a cluster of photos of my mom and I in my closet that a dear friend had put in a frame for me, and Arden asked one day, who is that (pointing to me) I said, “That’s mommy, and guess who that is (pointing to my mom)?” She squints her little eyes as if the harder she looks it will come to her. I told her., “That’s your mimi, thats my mommy!” She gives me this chin tucked smirk & takes her chubby little fingers and runs it across her face on the picture. “mimi, (followed by) mama, mimi, mama, mimi” pointing back and forth. She has since gone back multiple times and pointed to her and said Mimi and my heart bursts and breaks simultaneously.

Then there is my Beckett boy. He’s always curious, and he sometimes will randomly ask about her. “Where is your mom?” “Is your mom in heaven?” And one day he asked me, “Do you miss her?” I replied, “Very much.” He said, Me too, I wish she was here” This 4 year old was speaking everything my heart was feeling. Yet his tone, it’s full of life, and vibrancy. No pain in his desires for her. Speaking of her with a happiness, not sorrow. I’ve learned so much from this boy of mine.

What I have realized is that I’m not really sure how I feel about living life without her for so long. I do know that I miss her more than I can put into words. I do know that I miss her today just as much as I did yesterday, and last year and as much as I did 15 years ago. But if I spend today wondering, sulking, and over-thinking about how different my life would be if she were here– i’m going to miss the great things about today. Because Although 15 years ago, April 11th, 2004 was undoubtedly the worst day of my life (it still is.) But April 11th, 2019 was the day Arden slept 3 hours without a pacifier, the kids were giggling over the tooting taking place at the table during breakfast, the fact that Beckett tried to give up & share one of his donuts because there wasn’t any left. That Beckett got dressed, brushed his teeth & put his shoes on, all by himself. That last one made me tear up a bit-he’s getting so big! That was all before 9!

Today I’m choosing joy, I’m choosing hope, I’m choosing Grace. She may not have been the perfect mother, but she was my mother. I’m so grateful for the time I got with her. Every mountain high and valley low has shaped me into who I am. This low in my life led me down the path to being a photographer, capturing and creating these images- the beautifulness that is life during the highs and lows. These pictures are all I have left, Its proof of a (short) life well lived, memories made and the perfect story of mimi to share with my kids.

I thought I would end this blog with 15 things I loved and miss about my mom!

  1. When she worked nights at big bear plus (do you remember it?!) I would sometimes go to work with her, she would be changing pricing and ads I would lounging in the furniture section! I really did have fun those nights!
  2. Her laugh. It honestly was more like a cackle, but it was memorable.
  3. Her jogger suits- all of those memes where people wore the 80’s bright colored jogging suits, that was us haha! 
  4. She would have given the shirt off her back to anyone in need. No matter where she was at in life, she would have helped anyone in need.
  5. She always made my birthday special, she use to decorate cakes so my cakes were always pretty!
  6. Her embarrassing dancing while in the car. Oh my gosh, I’m shocked her steering wheel didn’t have dents from her pounding against it in her attempts bust a move.
  7. She somehow picked up the nickname Amy Yoder. (I never understood the inside joke- but it has something to do with the Amish?!)
  8. One time we had a slapping contest– lets just say I lost.
  9. She always brought people together. Always.
  10. One time I made a terrible clay “bowl” in my art class-she ended up using it as an ashtray until she quit smoking! haha!
  11. She loved braiding my hair, whether it was in one braid down the the middle or in pigtails- at the time I thought it was dorky, but boy do I wish she could do it now!
  12. She let my cousin Allison and I do that slingshot thing in Florida- I watch those videos now and have no clue how we did it!
  13. She was a classroom mom, always liked helping at my school!
  14. She was a fighter- She never gave up no matter what was thrown her way.
  15. She loved my sister and I with every ounce of her being. She always told us a million times a day she loved us. And gosh, do I love her.

Her name was Amy, she was a single mom of two girls who filled our lives with every thing we could have imagined, she was funny and smart, kind and loving. She was strong-willed, a fighter and someone I’ll miss every day.

I hope you guys have a great day, do me a favor- give your mom a call, a hug, and an I love you, for me today!



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