My mom died a year and some change ago. June of 2012, to be exact. Her birthday was/is November 18th, so this week has been particularly hard on me.
It's extra difficult because my dad has moved on with his life, and now has a live-in girlfriend. (Odd to use the term 'girlfriend' with a parental figure, but it is what it is...)
My mom and I had a difficult relationship, mainly because the disease that was killing her (Multiple Sclerosis) was also killing her mind, and stealing every one of our memories, and every maternal instinct she ever had. In my mind, I know that she didn't mean the things that she said and did to me in her final years. I know that deep down, in the part of her that was still HER, she loved me. But, since she's died, all that I've been able to feel has been the pain, hurt, loss, and anger of the final few years we shared.
However, recently, I've started remembering things from the past. Things I'd forgotten about, like the Red Rose Tea figurines she collected for me from a woman she worked with. The My Little Ponies she'd always managed to find for me on every birthday and Christmas, whether they came from Goodwill, the Salvation Army, or any garage sale she'd stumbled upon. The cookies we made together when I was barely big enough to stand and stir the giant bowl of dough.
This holiday season feels so much more painful than last, which surprises me, since it's not the first that I've been without my mother. I figured things would be easier as time moved on, but that's just simply not the case.