Part post because it’s early morning and I’m hoping to write again tonight:
This is the day I dread almost every year. It’s the anniversary of my mom’s death.
I’ll give a short bio on her. She was a ballet dancer. Earned her undergraduate degree in dance from Indiana University (which, I didn’t know this, but was very good at the time she attended) and then a few years later her Masters in Dance from the University of Iowa. I believe at that point she was with my dad. They met in Louisville on a blind date. She went on a second date because she liked his car. She danced with the Boston Ballet for a time then was a soloist for the Louisville ballet for a few years. My parents were married for 10 years before they had my sister. Pregnancy put my mother’s dancing career on hold and she taught lessons in our basement until I was ready to go to school. I believe she also taught at a local studio in the evenings when my dad was home from teaching at school. When we moved from Indiana to Iowa, she started the Youth Dance Form at the University of Iowa and participated in a number of dance things throughout the area. We chose our parish because they were the only Catholic church in the Iowa City area that allowed liturgical dance. My mom was fairly close to our pastor. Or… well… as ever close to him as one could be. He was an older man, could be very short with people. He was open to expressions of faith, but don’t touch the actual mass. That was his part and it had to be done to standard. He could be very harsh, but he loved my mom. Always thought the dances she brought to the church were beautiful.
I think some of them continued after she died, but my sister and I were too struck with grief to really help or participate.
My mom was my beacon of faith. That was until a few years back when my sister told me that our mom only clung to her faith when she was diagnosed with cancer because it was the only thing she could do. Older siblings have a tendency to ruin things like that.
This past year has had its ups and downs. My mental health has been better and gotten worse. My relationship has blossomed. Long distance sucks, but we’re doing quite well. I’ve been excelling in school, only to be set back due to medical issues.
I know I have raised this issue in the past, but I don’t really like people telling me that my mom would be proud of me. I mean, she probably would, but she’s not here to tell me so. She hasn’t been here to see me grow. It’s one of those things that I can’t really explain nor really explain it well, but it irks me. Mostly I feel like it’s a way for people that aren’t really close to me or don’t know me to offer some sort of condolences. Only once has it not bothered me, and it moved me to tears. It was from that pastor I was talking about above. I had just performed as Mother Superior in “The Sound of Music” my junior year of high school. Now, this pastor doesn’t give out compliments. Ever. Yet he pulled me aside after mass one day and said that he was so incredibly impressed by my voice and that my mom would be so proud of me. It has been one of 2 compliments I have treasured in my life.
So, I guess to explain the whole “mom would be so proud” thing, I feel like I have to have done something to earn it. Something beyond the normal day-to-day stuff. Granted, I do have a lot to be proud of. I haven’t cut in almost 300 days. Even though I went to the hospital almost a week ago. I haven’t tried to kill myself. I’ve been taking my medications regularly. My apartment’s clean. But these are things I’m not going to share on Facebook. At least, not yet. Maybe I’ll just deal with another year of “<3 Love to you and your family, Victoria! Your mother would be so proud of you girls!”
I’ve also thought about not posting it this year. Let’s be real, I don’t post often on Facebook. I feel like I have to honor her in some way besides going to the cemetery. Part of me wants to do this silently this year, though. I don’t want to just let it pass though. I have to acknowledge it. I can’t just brush it aside like any other day. This is an important day. And I love my mom.