I have already experienced many firsts since Mom died. Some of those milestones were especially painful: my first birthday without her, her birthday, Mother’s Day. Some are tied to memories I have of and with her: traveling for the first time without her being in the world, going to her favorite store, smelling her perfume for the first time since she died. Others are happy: the 10th anniversary of my conversion, the completion of my first semester of my grad program, falling in love.
I happened to go to Sparkman Hillcrest, where Mom is buried, for the first time since her funeral. I wasn’t there to see her grave, I was actually there with my boyfriend for another reason. We weren’t that far from the area where my grandparents and mom are and I kept going over the details of her funeral. I was specifically thinking about when I was sitting next to Rabbi Stern and my cousin, in front of the casket, and I closed my eyes. I kept thinking, “This is not real. This is not happening. This is someone else who is being buried and when I open my eyes, Mom will be here.” Then I opened my eyes and the reality hit all over again that she was gone.
I continue to be overwhelmed by all the changes in my life. Don’t get me wrong, some of them have been wonderful and I wouldn’t change that for anything, but it is still just mind-boggling how different life is for me than this time last year.