My Mom and Her Mom Survived it…But Will I?

My mom survived it. Her mom survived it. Her mother before her survived it. And so on, but still, I can’t imagine losing my mom. Life without her seems truly unimaginable. I know it’s part of life, something we all have to endure, yet it seems completely unnatural to lose your mother.

My mom when she was 4. Same pretty smile.

To say I love my mom is an underestimate. I love her, adore her, and like her so much. I’d want to be friends with her if we were contemporaries. She’s one of the nicest people you could ever meet. That sounds so trite but it’s true. She’s kind, gentle, always grateful, extremely smart, yet there’s something innocent about her. And she’s funny but not always intentionally. My mom is still the person I want to call when I’m blue or when something good happens. She’s the person who I can brag about my kids too without holding back and without judgment.

Mom holding my oldest.

My mom lives 450 miles away in Ohio—you know that the moment you hear her nasally Midwestern accent. Anyone that knows me well knows that I love to imitate her…and am pretty good at it. Despite the distance, I talk to her almost every day. About what I’m eating, what I’m watching, to complain about Trump. Usually, it’s to brag about the kids. Sometimes, its about how pissed off I am that my house is a flippin’ mess. Sometimes I call and say, “Can I bitch for 5 minutes?” and she always replies, “Of course,” with a laugh.

I’m always proud of her. Even when I was a child; I loved it when she came to school so I could show off how pretty was to my classmates. “Your mommy is pretty and your daddy is so handsome,” I remember my first grade teacher, Mrs. Prusa, telling me after back-to school night.

My mom is someone that everyone loves. Truly! I’ve had friends ask me if she is really as nice as she seems. And she is. She teaches at a preschool and friends who have children at the school have asked me what medications she’s on! “She can’t be that nice naturally!” But she is–without meds–more than I can say for myself. When I was a teenager, I’m pretty sure my friends liked her more than me. They’d sit in my kitchen for hours talking to her. She’s a good listener and never judgmental.

When my grandmother died, my mom cried every day for at least a year. It was the saddest I’ve ever seen her. My grandmother was a sweetheart like my mom: kind, patient, quiet, gentle, loving and a little naive and innocent. I can still see her sitting on the front step of her small brick house wearing a blue and white-checkered blouse waving tearfully goodbye after a visit. My mom would sit in the front seat, staring out the window, and would cry for the first 15 minutes on the drive home.

My grandmother was weak and miserable in her last few days, not herself at all. But when my mom remembers the day that she died she says, “I didn’t care if she was miserable or if I had to prop my mother up. I would’ve taken another day, or hour, or minute with her. I didn’t want her to die.” My mom and I joke about everything–nothing is off limits. So I tell her, I might do the same to her. “That’s what I’m going to do with you, mom, prop you up whether you like it or not.”

Friends who have lost their mother advise me to cherish my moments with my mom. And I do, I truly do.

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Author: Heather Zachariah

Former Art Director for Home Magazine, Heather Leahy Zachariah, left her career in publishing after baby number number one. She now works from home as a freelance graphic designer and a chauffeur to her 3 busy kids. "Working on TipsFromTown has been a wonderful outlet for me. It renewed my love of publishing where I can design colorful, enticing pages online and allows me to share the things I love about being a mom." Heather grew up in Shaker Heights, Ohio, a place that still is near and dear to her. " After living in Brooklyn for 18 years and studying Graphic Design at Pratt Institute, she now lives in the Jersey burbs. "I love living so close to NYC, but in my heart, I'm an Ohio girl."


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