Ten years gone

susie maine

This is the third year in a row that I’ve written about my mom’s passing, and it occurred to me today that I’m not sure when or if I will ever stop writing about it. It’s not just that it’s so therapeutic for me, or that it gives me a chance to bring her back to life, even if for a moment. It’s that it never stops hurting or feeling relevant, and I never stop stumbling upon new revelations or stages in my healing.

family of five

Our family of five…once upon a time.

As of tomorrow, it will be ten years since that unexpected, soul-rattling, life-changing moment occurred. Ten years. And in many ways, that moment is still with me after all that time. Because, somewhere beyond all the healing and acceptance, lies a pocket of time that stands immoveable inside me. It’s as if the months surrounding her death remain forever in the present, refusing to budge or resolve or make any sense. That part of me doesn’t want to move forward, partly because I don’t want to leave her behind, but mostly because I’m not done figuring it out.

In terms of mourning, ten years doesn’t feel all that long. It’s too much to process….and I may never be done.

me and susie 12th bday

My twelfth birthday, when she handed down to me the ring her parents gave her on her own twelfth birthday.


On the other hand, it feels as if so much time has passed. My life is incredibly different. I am so different. It’s difficult to continue on imagining how she would fit into this life if she were still here….the game I used to play daily in order to cope….If she were here, she would tell me to move to California even though she’d miss me. If she were here, she would dislike this boyfriend….and love this husband. If she were here, she would be proud of me for owning my life as an artist….she always encouraged me to be just that. If she were here, her second home would be in my guest room….and my child would be like her own.

I guess that my only point is that losing a loved one….a mother….is an incredibly complicated thing. It is not a static moment that gets left behind. The effects stretch out over your lifetime, like a photo being stretched in photoshop. Everything gets fuzzy, and begins to fade out into nothing, but the photo is still there….always. Edit>revert….and you’re staring right into the moment again, clear as day.

So, as much as I thought I had left it behind, it’s likely that I will forever play “If she were here, she’d say…..”


Leave a Reply