If I Could Go Back in Time…I Would Have Stayed that Day

If I could go back in time it would be to Thursday, November 27, 1997. Thanksgiving day.

Dear Mom, 
  This week will be 17 years since the last time we saw each other, the last time we embraced, the last time we spoke to each other. There is so much I want to tell you, so much I wish I had said that day. I guess none of us can ever know the future, or how much time we have. That last day with you was so hectic, with everyone together, us four kids in the same place for the first time in ages, your sister and niece down to visit all the way from Alaska. We hadn’t seen them since Grammy Wood died. It would have been such a joyful time, if not for the true reason we had all come together that Thanksgiving. Though we tried to pretend otherwise, it was to make plans for you to leave us, it was a time for some of us to say goodbye. None of us knew how much time you had left. At some point during that day it seemed that all the noise and people were wearing you out, so we went upstairs to let you rest, I should have stayed with you so you weren’t alone. I could have just sat and held your hand. I could have told you what a wonderful person you were, what a beautiful soul, that you were a good mother.
  There are so many things I am sorry for Mom. I’m sorry when you first got sick that I didn’t believe you. I thought you were just trying to get my attention, trying to get me to stay home with you more, like you had done in the past. I’m sorry for all those times I got angry at you, thinking you were just trying to manipulate me, when you were truly sick. I’m sorry I held so much against you, all the ways I thought you should have been different, for me. If I had only let myself see how hard your life had been, how it had made you the way you were, maybe I would have had more empathy, more compassion. I wish I had. I hope you can forgive me for those things. I’m sorry that on that last day I thought I had so many important things to do, my own life to attend to. I was so selfish Mom. I didn’t know I would never see you again. 
  When I was getting ready to leave that day, you tried to tell me, you tried to say goodbye. You knew what I didn’t. I remember you asking me to stay longer, and me saying I had to go, but that I would be back in a couple days. As I was leaving you said, “I love you Kim.” I said, “I love you too”. Then you grabbed me by the arm, with a strength that belied your illness, and you said, “Look at me!” You looked so deeply into my eyes, and said, “I mean it, I really love you”.  “I know Mom. I love you too”.
I should have known…I just should have known…you were trying to tell me “Goodbye”.
I hugged you one more time, placing my hand behind your head, feeling how thin and fragile you had become….but I left anyway. I thought I had so much to do Mom, and that there would be more time. I thought I would see you again, hold you again, hear your voice again, but I never did. I didn’t come back in a couple days as I said I would. I got the call exactly one week later…you were gone. I wasn’t there. There would never be another hug, another laugh, another chance to hear your voice, another chance to hold and be held by you, another chance to say, “I love you”. I hope you forgive me, and know how sorry I am for all my mistakes. For all the times I neglected you, and treated you badly, or just ignored you all together…for all of this I am deeply, deeply sorry. I only wish I had stayed that day. I miss you Mom.


15 comments on “If I Could Go Back in Time…I Would Have Stayed that Day

  1. Thank you for sharing this very personal moment. Sometimes though it seems that our loved ones wait until they are alone to pass so that they will not be a burden. This is incredibly hard for the living but I find that it can sometimes make it easier. I have been in both situations with love ones, and while I have not yet lost my parent nor will I say that know how you feel. There is a bit of relief one feels once they understand that there loved one is not in any further pain.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mothers are the best friends we have in this life, and while many don’t seem to do right, in the eyes of their children, it is worth noting that what they have done for us is always reflected in how we ourselves act, as adults, in similar situations.


  3. I’m very sorry for your loss. You wrote a beautiful letter to your mom and I know that she knows, you’re a mother so you have to know as well that the love is unconditional and your mother was fine with everything. I lost my father and the missing never stops. Losing a parent, no matter what your age is, stinks and there is no getting around it. I am so glad that you wrote the letter, for her and for you. 🙂


    • Thank you…it’s been 17 years since she left, and 13 this year since I lost my dad. I didn’t have a close relationship with my Dad, so the missing is different. I want my Mom every day.


  4. Yes, Kim, I still grieve the loss of my beloved mother. The holidays are the hardest, Mom loved the holdays and was the hostess with the mostest. Always tons of food.
    During her illness, although I brought food, helped clean the house, went to Dr visits, etc., to this day I still think I could have done so much more. To quote song lyric, ‘I just didn’t know she would really go.’
    I feel your pain, but as a mother of four, I know that what matters to a mom the most is knowing their children love them. And it sounds as though you gave your mom what she needed most, love.
    I have a post about my mom in Ch 2 called ‘Monday’s Off’ that you might like.


  5. Oh, Honey….
    Put the bat away. Stop beating yourself up. You weren’t being selfish, and it’s obvious you’re not a selfish woman. You are an adult with a life of your own. If a parent has done a good job with their child, they let them go. Your mom said she loved you, you loved her. You couldn’t have known when her time would come.
    Forgive yourself.


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