Friday, April 23, 2010

Nine Years Later

Today is the ninth anniversary of my mom's death. The day she passed away I couldn't imagine what my life would be like nearly a decade later. Juliana was barely eight months old and Jason and I were scraping by somehow in our "charming" little apartment on Chicago's northwest side. I was finally getting into a good routine with the baby and really enjoying being a mom. I can remember that morning sitting at my dining room table while Juli napped. It was one of the first warm spring days of the year and I had the windows open as I sorted through the mail, paying bills. Mom had been in the hospital for a couple of weeks and they were trying to figure out what course of treatment to take next for her cancer but I had just seen her the day before and I really believed in my heart that she was going to get better. I remember sitting there next to the window and feeling the breeze flow through the room and I thought to myself, "Wow, life is really good."

Then I got the phone call.

Since then I have been very cautious about letting myself think, "Wow, life is really good." Of course, I KNOW that I have a good life. I am incredibly lucky. However, something about totally surrendering to that feeling and having that "perfect" moment is a little bit scary for me because I feel like the second I do it will all be taken away. I am GRATEFUL for what I have but very careful not to get too comfortable and start taking things for granted. Over the past year in particular, as I've started to develop new friendships in Milwaukee and begun to feel like I've found my place here I've been flirting with this feeling again.

When I was out running the other day I kept thinking about how amazed my mom would be if she could see what I am doing now. It's not that I was a couch potato when she was alive but even running a 5K was unthinkable for me back then so a full marathon? GET. OUT. She was always my biggest fan back when I was dancing in college and she came to see every last performance I was in, no matter how small it was. In fact, my very last show at Columbia College she wasn't feeling very well and called to say she wouldn't be making the drive in. I was ok with it but it turned out that she went back and forth about it all day- wondering if she had made the right decision- and then at the last minute ended up driving nearly two hours into Chicago to watch me perform. I think the piece I was in was about ten minutes long. However, it was my last performance before I left to have Juliana and she said she just wasn't sure if she'd ever get the chance to see me dance again. Turns out she was right. She wouldn't.

I'm not dancing on stage anymore but I know that my mom would be my biggest cheerleader at every race I run now. When I run the marathon in my hometown of Rockford, Illinois next month I'm going to picture her at the finish line and maybe for that one short moment I'll be able to close my eyes and think to myself, "Wow, life is really good."


  1. Wow - what a wonderful mom with a huge heart for you! If it helps, remember that she is always with you. So life is really good, and she is really proud of you.

  2. Your mom sounds like one cool lady. She certainly passed that coolness on to her daughter.

  3. You remain a wonderful daughter.

  4. Thinking of you on this difficult day. Mom's love is right there with you!

  5. Oh Tracey...I am weeping for you and thinking of you on this difficult day. Hugs. Let me know if you need anything.