My mom died when I was nine.
She died in combat . . .
When I found out she was dead, I don’t really remember how I felt, or if I fully and truly understood what had happened. Of course I understood death, but that was the first time it had happened to me and it was my mom. The idea that I would never see her again wasn’t really registering . . . I was like my mind and my body were working separately. I guess I was in shock.
It’s tragic when anyone loses their parents, but with my being so young, it was devastating. When I finally came to terms with what was happening, I broke down; I was inconsolable. I slipped into a really dark place . . . Pops did too.
Dad . . . God, he lost it. Nothing in life really seemed to matter to him with Mom gone. He drank all the time; never got out of bed; eventually lost his job. My grandparents had to step in after awhile . . . He spiraled, and I completely understand.
Not to sound too cheesy, but Mom was Dad’s epic love. There’s that quote that says something about one body and two souls or something like that. Well, that was my parents, from what I remember and what I was told. They never seemed completely whole when they were away from each other. There was always a light that came on when Mom walked into a room Dad and I were in, and Mom blushed like a little girl when Dad would kiss her or something two people in love do. They were always holding hands or touching in some way; I thought it was disgusting as a kid, but I know love like theirs doesn’t find each other often. I hope that one day, I’m as fortunate . . .
Dad would go on these binges where he was gone for days at a time. I never knew if he drank himself dead or drove himself off the road, into a tree or a ditch, and I couldn’t help but think I can’t lose him too . . . So I tried to make him see that I needed him, that I needed him to be my dad, to take care of me, but he was too far gone.
My mom died a soldier and a hero, and I’m damn proud of her.
I thought my dad was going to die a drunken, heartbroken mess, and on top of losing him, I would have been incredibly ashamed. There’s no way that I can completely understand the grief that my father was feeling–or rather, was trying to escape from–but he . . . he wasn’t the only one in pain. He didn’t have the right to monopolize on the anguish that Mom’s death left.
. . . It was bad for a few years.
But then Dad met Jocelyn. I don’t know what it was about her, but she pulled him up and out of whatever abyss he’d been drowning in.
I didn’t know the word at the time, but I was a little skeptical of their relationship at first. I thought Jocelyn was going to make Dad forget about mom, but I know now that was just me being ridiculous. Despite the miracle she worked on him, he will never be the same without Mom, but Jocelyn helped him moved forward.
I love Jocelyn like a mom; she’s an amazing woman and great mom to my little brothers. I appreciate that while she knew I needed a mother figure in my life, she didn’t try to replace my mom, but since she’s been in my life, she’s been there whenever I needed her. She helped me pick out my tux for prom and bought my date her corsage. She was a shoulder to cry on when things between Izzy and I didn’t work out. She already knows me well enough to know when I really need my space versus when I say need my space but actually need a hug. Maybe it’s a Jocelyn thing; maybe it’s a mom thing.
. . . It’s been almost ten years since Mom’s death. Much has occurred and much has changed. And with every passing year, it gets harder and harder to remember little things about her, but I’ll never forget how much I loved her and how much respect I have for her and what she did for this country.
I love you, Mom,