I forgot to remember.
This is my husband’s mom.
And 22 years ago today, she passed away. He was just 20 years old at the time. Still a kid. Still figuring out his life. Stuck somewhere between adolescence and adulthood. He was just starting his second year of college and still had so much life ahead of him. Then, she was gone. He has now lived more than half of his life without his mother in it. And every day he opens his eyes, her absence still affects him.
And today…I forgot to remember. I woke up and went about my routine just like any other day…and forgot that this day is anything but ordinary for him.
All day I knew something was off. He wasn’t acting quite like himself. But I couldn’t put my finger on it…
About halfway through the day, I started to assume it was me. I was bothering him. I’d done something wrong. He was frustrated with me for who knows what. How self-absorbed, right?
When I finally got home after a long day (for both of us) I pressed in. When he said, “It was just a tough day,” I pressed some more. And finally, he said it. “Today is the day my mom died.”
I felt the oxygen sucked out of my lungs. My heart dropped. My eyes filled with tears.
How could I have done this? How could I have forgotten to recognize him – his hurt, his loss, his grief – on this day?
“I’m sorry.” It was literally all I could say.
That moment in the kitchen…that will stick with me for the rest of my life. My heart is still breaking, but you know what? That moment made me a better wife.
You can bet that for the rest of my days, I will not let October 30th pass without thinking of the mother-in-law I never got to meet. And I know with certainty that for as long as he is alive on this earth, my husband will know that I see him on this day. The mistake I made today will not be in vain.
That’s the whole point though, isn’t it? We mess up and we don’t just make “it” better… we become better. In our friendships and within our families. At work and in our communities. As mothers, as daughters, as wives. As Christians…as humans.
We fall short. We ask for forgiveness. We fight to be better.
Rinse and repeat.
Forever and ever, Amen.