It's hard to believe that, this year, you will have been gone for twice as much of my life as you were in it. I wonder so often how my life would have turned out with you here. I wonder what kind of relationship we'd have now that I am almost 45 and not 15. I wonder what kind of person I'd be now if you weren't gone.
But, actually, "gone" isn't the right word, is it? I know that you have always been with me. I see you every day in the things I love and believe in, the way I react to people and situations, and in the faces...you wouldn't believe how much...in the faces of my children (especially the this oldest one, who, I swear, you sent to me on purpose). I know that who you were and the things you taught me have made me the person I am today.
When I was a kid, it was so easy to be angry and to not understand why you weren't just taken from me, but you went willingly. It was so easy to blame you for making a terrible choice and making me pay for it. It was easy to stomp my feet and cry and just shout about how it was all So. Not. Fair. Why couldn't you have gone with a traditional treatment and just put up with everything that went with that and you'd still be with me. You wouldn't have missed so much of my life.
As I look at my family, and in particular at my daughter, I completely understand your reasons for everything - not just the experimental and very risky treatment - but for every decision and every sacrifice you made in your all-too-brief life. I'd have done the same things in a heartbeat. Whether you knew at the time how the choices you made then or not, they have impacted me and your grandchildren in such huge ways. You've given us gifts that can never be repaid.
So much of who I am now is so much a result of you being who you were to me as a kid. You were never just my mother - you were my very best friend and closest confidante. I will always silently ask you what you think of new people I meet. I will always shake my own head in disapproval at my choices in impractical footwear (that I will still wear). I will always stop changing stations for a Beatles or Barry song. I will always shout "MAKE UP!" during that 10cc song while everyone looks at me like I'm insane.
I will always do my best to keep the spirit of who you were in life alive in myself and in your grandchildren. I will make sure they know you, even if they never got to meet you.
I love you, Mom.