Yesterday was the one-year anniversary of my mother’s death. I didn’t write anything yesterday because I can’t adequately express how a loss like that cuts your life in two (I still can’t). Everything now is either “before” or “after” and as much as you ache to go back to the “before,” you can’t.

I didn’t start therapy or medication until she was sick; I’m not sure how much longer it would have taken me to do it if she’d stayed well. I struggle so much with that: I don’t want to admit something good came out of her illness, but she’d be so proud of the work I’m doing. At the same time, I wish I had the tools I have now to use in our relationship when she was alive.

I know Mom would be proud of the whole family–I am, too, for not just getting through it all but also coming out stronger. We are gentler with each other. We are more open. We talk about feelings with each other more than I ever have in my life (much to my family members’ chagrin sometimes, but hey, therapy works!).

I don’t expect living without Mom to get any easier going forward, but it’s slowly, slowly becoming the new normal. That new normal has us closer to tears than we were before, but we’re also finding ways to enjoy this new “after.” She would have wanted that.

We miss you, Mom, and we love you.