Hi, Mom.

Tonight, Courtland wailed for you. She wanted her Momar’s squishy hugs, and James and I were not sufficient. You were always her biggest champion, and even at the age of four, she could sense that. I hate knowing how much richer her life could be were you still with us.

While Courtland sobbed, Sunny mournfully whispered, “I wish Momar had taken care of herself as well as she took care of all of us.”

And in my angriest moments of grief, those very thoughts creep into my head. Why didn’t you love yourself as much as we all loved you? Why didn’t you care for your own health (physical, mental, emotional) in all the ways you supported and encouraged us to do? Why didn’t you want to take care of yourself enough to be around for all of us that need you so much?

I realize that even with the most vigilant self-care your body could have given out, suddenly, unexpectedly, in the way that it did. But I hate that I wonder. I hate that I resent that wonder, that possibility that this didn’t have to be. Had you just exercised more. Spent time with a therapist. Eaten less sweets and more leafy greens. Taken care of you, in mind, body, spirit.

It does me no good, but memories of standing in an ER in Albany, clutching your ashen hand, shaking with adrenaline and fear, pleading with you, race through my nightmares.

I need you to take care of yourself. I need you. I can’t have this happen again. We all need you.

That moment, less than three years before your death. That moment when death came so near, but I stopped it. I thought that would be the moment when you’d finally focus on you. Your health. Your happiness. And yet, I couldn’t stop death. I never could, I just never expected it to haunt us so soon after its first approach.

As a friend said in the aftermath of your death, “This wasn’t inevitable, but it wasn’t unforeseeable.” And that very fact shakes my core. Even your seven year old grandchild can sense it.

I’m angry that I couldn’t stop death. I’m angry that I have to exist in a world without you. Forever a world without you. And that these children of mine will never fully understand what a vibrant, rich world it was to have you in it. What it meant to be loved by their Momar.

I miss you so damn much.
143 Your Ashley