Out of all the posts on this blog, this is by far the hardest one to write. Today marks the one year anniversary of the day my mom died. February 1st 2014 seems like it was eons ago. And at the same time, like it just happened. It's still so fresh and painful, it doesn't have the luxury of being a memory.
The fact is, I'm hard pressed to remember anything else that's happened in the past 12 months. The events of that day, not just the phone call, not just the shock and the sadness and disbelief and the tears, but every moment and every action, has permeated every fiber of my being.
It replays in my mind. Over and over and over. No sound can drown it out. No distraction draws attention away from it. Nothing stops it.
It took what had been inside me for 41 years, and replaced it with a hollow, empty copy that lingers on to this very second.
The loss and heartbreak…the despair and heaviness, is something that has weighed me down every second of every minute of the past 365 days. It has shaped this new version of me and guided every step I've taken since. I created this site not only as a way to pay tribute and honor my mother, but as a means of helping me cope with her death. Whether I've succeeded at either of those is up for interpretation. The truth is, there is nothing I could have done…nothing I could ever do, that would honor Carol Versandi the way she deserves. No reverences, no accolades and no prime placement in any hallowed hall would be good enough. At least, not as far as I'm concerned. I could keep adding stories and pictures to this site for the next 10 years and I still wouldn't have scratched the surface. But I'm not going to do that. In fact, I'm going to do the opposite. I'm going to step away from this website and let it stand on it's own.
A testament to the woman my mother was. I'm not abandoning it altogether, but I probably won't update it all that frequently either. If someone has a story they want to add, I'll add it, but as far as my own personal contributions, I think it's time I started looking forward and not back.
I did what I set out to do. Paint a picture and tell the story of my mom. And although it's by no means complete, I feel that I've provided enough for you to fill in the blanks wherever you may see fit. That's not to say that I'm done telling her tales. Not by any means. I will talk about her anywhere, any time and with anyone that cares to listen. But for now, this site will stand as is. And I hope you've enjoyed reading these stories. And I hope they've brought you some small measure of joy. And I hope, more than anything else, that I've made my mother proud. In closing, I want to leave you with a poem called The Dash. Normally I wouldn't do this. I usually find poems and parables, specifically about loss, to be a tacky and heavy handed. This particular poem was read aloud on the last day of the grief counseling sessions that I attended in the fall, and it has stuck with me ever since. And even though it uses a pretty juvenile rhyming scheme, I feel the message is essential. Thank you for sticking with me this past year. Thank you for reading my blog. Thank you mom for everything. You will never truly know how much I love you or how much I miss you. Thank you Michael The Dash by Linda Ellis I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend. He referred to the dates on the tombstone from the beginning…to the end. He noted that first came the date of birth and spoke the following date with tears, but he said what mattered most of all was the dash between those years. For that dash represents all the time that they spent alive on earth. And now only those who loved them know what that little line is worth. For it matters not, how much we own, the cars…the house…the cash. What matters is how we live and love and how we spend our dash. So, think about this long and hard. Are there things you’d like to change? For you never know how much time is left that can still be rearranged. If we could just slow down enough to consider what’s true and real and always try to understand the way other people feel. And be less quick to anger and show appreciation more and love the people in our lives like we’ve never loved before. If we treat each other with respect and more often wear a smile, remembering that this special dash might only last a little while. So, when your eulogy is being read, with your life’s actions to rehash… would you be proud of the things they say about how you spent your dash?