I love fall (when it's not 80 degrees, but I'll take it), with the leaves changing, apple cider, Halloween, pumpkin carving, and (usually) sweater weather. My favorite part by far though is the changing of the leaves. I love the beauty in their dark and bold coloring and crunchy exterior. I remember being young and someone telling me the leaves were dead when they changed and fell to the ground. While at first I found this depressing, I've come to see the magic in the statement. There's something amazing about beauty in death, in the last moments of life. Our true colors show at the end and in our leaving of this world and into the next, we leave something beautiful behind.
It is three and a half years ago today, on April 11th, 2008 at 7:22am, when I woke up to hear my dad screaming and to discover my mom was dead.
Seeing that written out doesn't feel weird since after almost four years, that statement is habit by now. Accepting that the above statement is true took a lot longer. I look back on the years since then and can hardly believe how much I've grown; my mother would barely recognize this new Molly. She though, more than anyone else in my life, did understand me even when I thought I didn't understand myself.
I can imagine her reactions and advice for certain things over the years, from the tattoo, to deciding to study abroad, to boyfriends, to love, to heartbreak, to stress, to blue hair...
I knew her almost as well as she knew me. She hated to see me grow up and was definitely more of the mother-with-the-shotgun than my father is when it comes to men. She would have been terrified to let me study abroad even though she would have supported me. She would have listened intently to all my drama, gossip, and missteps. She would have hated the tattoo (sorry, mommy), hated the blue hair, and hated even more the idea that I wanted a couple more tattoos (sorry daddy). She would have loved University of Iowa.
Memories of my late mother pop up constantly, many of which my sister and I share with each other:
~Listening to "Life Would Be Dream" on the newly paved road in the van
~Sitting in the penthouse laughing in Door County
~Seeing Wicked together for my sweet sixteen
~Matching dresses, matching pants, matching sweaters, matching everything...
~The awkward pre-homecoming party she threw for me and my friends my freshman year
~Telling me I couldn't date a boy because she "didn't like his bite"
~Throwing me the Care And Keeping Of You book when I asked to have "the talk"
~Family vacations, road trips, and trips to our grandparent's condo on Green Lake
~The goody bags she insisted on putting together for my 16th birthday party
~Our basement which had sections for scrapbooking, beading, stamping, and knitting
And oh so many more.
Anyone who knows me will say I talk a lot about my mom, which is true, though it's because she was such an instrumental figure in my life. Without her, I literally would not be sitting here unable to sleep. She was the most amazing woman I have ever known and probably will ever know. She loved me to the depths of her heart, and made sure I felt that love every single second of every single day. Not a moment went by when I wasn't smothered with her love and cookies. She was the best mother any girl could ever wish for, and I feel selfish at times wishing I could have kept her longer. She graced my life with her presence for seventeen years and perhaps that's all I could take of her awesomeness before the world imploded.
A few years ago, I wrote a little something to my mom that still rings true: "Because of you, mom, I am alive. Because of you, mom, I'm still standing. Because of you, mom, I smile. Because of you, mom, I never gave up. And because of you, mom, I never will."