It's been almost 14 months since you left us mom. Some days my heart aches so much I don't think I can bear it. It seems like just yesterday you left and sometimes it seems like it's been forever. I didn't think this day would come so soon, I wasn't prepared for what my life would be like without my mom in it each day.
I realized over the Thanksgiving weekend that so often I walked on eggshells around my mom. Mom wanted everyone to be happy, she wanted everyone to get along. She hated conflict probably more than anything, but then I came along, her child full of conflict. Her gay, alcoholic, HIV+ son. Don't get me wrong, she loved me dearly (and she told me often) but she also wanted me to keep my mouth shut. I remember the heartbreaking day when I told my mother I had HIV. Her first comment was "let's don't tell anybody, let's just keep this between us". I said OK at first but then the more I thought about it I realized that wasn't OK. For me to not talk about my sexual orientation, my alcoholism or my HIV was to live my life in shame and to live a life in shame is like another disease. I knew I couldn't keep my mouth shut and I also knew that would make my mother uncomfortable and I didn't want to make my mom uncomfortable or sad or angry, so I often walked on eggshells. I realized over the Thanksgiving weekend that it was more comfortable not walking on eggshells and my heart broke, again. For the first time ever I felt comfortable with my mom not being there and it just about killed me.
I don't love my mom any less or any more because of this realization. I do see her as the real person that she was. I know she wasn't perfect and I also know that she loved me with all of her heart and she wanted to protect me from any pain or suffering as she did for all of her boys.
Coming up will be our second Christmas without mom and it will be sad. We will shed some tears and we will share some laughs. Judith Lee Giles Harrison will always be the greatest mom ever, at least by me.