I fall into bed, exhausted. What’s the date tomorrow?
I sigh. I knew it was coming up.
He asks, “Is tomorrow the day? How many years has it been?”
It takes me a bit—Oh God. Eighteen. It’s been eighteen years.
I curl on my side, unprepared, yet knowing what is coming. A wave of grief hits so hard I start to shake. What I keep reigned in, deep, lets loose. No almost-pretty gentle crying. This is dreadful heart-ache crying.
Unlike my brother and sister who met this milestone years ago, tomorrow marks my half and half. I have lived half my life without my mother. I did not expect this matter of fact to re-break my heart.
I will never be able to add to our days together. For one day, they will be equal. After tomorrow, I will only add to my days without.
It’s the 30th and I let myself be sad. I allow myself to sift through memories and linger.
Just for today. I do not look back often. Too much time has passed for that.
The other day, my oldest son asked me what would happen if I died.
“What would we do without you?”
Caught off guard, I turn away, from the slap. I try to talk, but need a second to breathe. I turn back, shaky, and say, “You’d get through it. It would be hard. Maybe the hardest thing you ever do. But you’d get through it.”
As he does, he presses, “But what if you die before I’m a teenager?”
I sit down. My sister was eleven when our mom died. My daughter is already eight. What if I only have three more years?
I look deep in those five-year old blue eyes, and try my best to sear my mother-love into his soul. I pray he understands the depth of my love and will know it for the rest of his life.
I wouldn’t change my first half, and I cannot change my second. No longer in halves, I pray for insight – How should I live this ever-growing part of my life? If I have three, twelve, or fifty more years, my Half and Half itself marks a point where I choose to live intentionally. With hope. Confidence. Faith. And purpose.