I always get anxious when days like these arrive-my mom’s birthday, her death anniversary, holidays and special moments in life. For so many years many of my friends have been telling me, “You need to write a book with all the things your mom used to say!” Well, today is my mom’s five-year death anniversary, and I want to write in memory of her.
Just a little bit of history: On July 17th 2012, my family was in town from Denver and we were at the Pleasure Pier in Galveston, Texas, celebrating my Grandpa’s 70th birthday! Yes, 70th!! My grandpa’s only requests were to ride a few roller coasters, have a few beers, and eat “Better than Sex” cake. Quick piece of knowledge for my audience: My mom was a boss at making Better than Sex cake and it was definitely a family favorite. (Yes, yall can have the recipe. No, the cake is not better than sex…but it’s pretty damn close!) As the story goes, there was a dramatic change of events. My mom never made it to Galveston, and a few days later we laid her to rest at just 42 years old. Amidst the hellish, hot, summertime-Texas weather, I recall hearing “Come Sail Away” by Styx, as the pallbearers carried her casket to the cemetery. I remember thinking how devastating it must have been for my younger cousins, brother, uncle, and other important men in my mom’s life to carry the weight of our mom in a casket, while their hearts must have weighed a thousand more pounds. We did the burial ceremony, we cried, we hugged, we said our condolences and then we left…and there began the beginning of an eternal void. As for the Better than Sex cake ingredients...they stayed sitting on her kitchen countertop for many, many days thereafter.
Fast forward five years and here we are today, my mom’s death anniversary. The road through grief is long and ugly but I’m not going to unpack and live there today. As I sit here trying to convey to yall how strong, badass, and wise my mom was, I feel a great sense of gratitude and pure luck that I got to be raised by her.
In today’s society, we are overwhelmingly focused on individual rights, protecting people’s feelings from getting hurt, and fostering environments where entitlement tends to override ethics. This is where advice from my mom comes in. My mom was overflowing with brilliant, wise-ass one-liners, and the common motif among them all was this grand idea that you don’t have to let your feelings dictate your life. Life is hard, ruthless, and doesn’t bend its fairness for any man or woman. But, life is also beautiful and we are deserving of the good things that life may bring. The only way through it, is through it. When hell breaks loose, we have to buck up and roll with the punches. I always did appreciate my mom’s black and white views, although she did wear her rose colored glasses from time to time.
As requested, Things My Mom Would Say: Hard-Ass Edition: My mom did not let us sit around crying over spilled milk...like, ever.
Translation: Stop crying about where you are and start moving. No one is going to do these things for you and you need to man/woman up and get it done.
Translation: Life is not always easy. Life will continue to move whether you are ready for it or not. Get up and get going, even if you have to lie to yourself about it for a while.
Translation: Buck up and do what you know is right to do. You’re not a child. The Lord helps those who help themselves.
Translation: Literally, stop being scared and intimidated. We are all humans, and that big boss-man CEO puts his pants on the same way you do every morning; one leg at a time.
This post is the first of several “things my mom would say” posts. Although my mom left us much too soon, her principles have not strayed far from our lives. I don’t know much about the spiritual world and how it remains politically correct with the Bible, but I like to hope that my mom has been watching over us all along. Or maybe she hasn’t? Maybe, once she arrived in Heaven she was instantly healed and consumed with total awe over the glory of the Lord, and her kids’ lives here on Earth are just a drop in the bucket compared to Heaven.
Regardless of how those scenarios truly play out, a few things remain the same. Today is July 17th, 2017. It has been five years since we lost our mom. While some things remain the same, many of them change and that’s probably the hardest part for us to handle. My mom now has four grandkids. Her firstborn daughter made it through college earning three degrees and is raising two, beautiful boys that god-willing will turn into stellar men. Hunter was six weeks old when my mom died. She only held him three times, but he often talks about her while we are driving and he likes to find her flying in the sky with her angel wings. Her second-born daughter is beautiful and has rocked the hat of being independent while living many states away from her family. She’s raising two perfect children, and while her son never met Grandma Kim, her daughter did and she speaks of her fondly. Her youngest son, her baby, is the best damn guitar player you will ever hear and he is building a life she would be proud of. He has made it through the fire many times over again and is becoming a man she would have been proud to call her son.
Mom, thank you for the memories you gave us while you were here on Earth. You have no idea how many lives you impacted and that you still continue to influence today. There are so many things that have changed in our lives that would put a smile on your face. As for that Better than Sex cake however…it still has never been made.