Governor Burgum said in his press conference that we need to find our why.
Some think that there is only one way to deal with anger, grief, or life struggles. I learned a long time ago to channel mine into activism and advocacy. So that is what I am doing.
Someone close to me explained Mom’s confusion that last night when I talked to her. He said something like “it wasn’t that she didn’t know you, it was that she couldn’t draw a deep enough breath to say anything to you.” He will correct me if I got that wrong.
If that is true, and it is highly possible that it is, I had the opportunity to say so much more to her on her final day than I did, and I lost it. I lost it because I didn’t have all of the facts and couldn’t see beyond what I was feeling at that moment.
Prior to those last two days, it had been something like 8 days since Mom and I had last talked. I don’t recall. See, Mom and I would sometimes go a month or more without talking. Life would get busy. I won’t make excuses except to say I am not perfect, and I think that my family, both immediate and extended would agree with that.
But it worked for us. Or maybe it just worked for me. I don’t know anymore. I can’t change it.
Here is what I believe.
Mom didn’t have to die on Oct. 4th, 2020. She was a lifelong smoker. She had underlying conditions that might have taken her sooner rather than later, but it wasn’t her time until Covid-19 hit her.
I have faced the concept of my own mortality. I am not afraid of dying. I am afraid of not living long enough to see my grandchildren grow up. There is a fear in me that I might be the cause of someone else dying because I am selfish and don’t want to wear a mask.
So I guess I am being selfish with the memorial.
I could spend a lifetime trying to make up for the relationship I didn’t have with Mom. I could spend a lifetime wishing. Wishing doesn’t make it so.
Instead, I’ll channel my grief into activism and advocacy. To get people to wear their masks.
And yes Toby, I get that some people can’t wear them for a variety of reasons, so you don’t need to explain it to me. Or maybe you do because I value your friendship and the things that matter to you.
We all deal with grief differently. That we deal with it is what is important.
Yes, we all die. At some point, life ends. I get that. Imagine the life the 17-year-old from New Town had ahead of her. Imagine the hugs that a Grandma or Grandpa can’t give to their grandchildren. Because they managed to catch Covid. Now maybe they didn’t die of Covid. Perhaps they died from asthma, a heart arrhythmia, cancer, lupus, Parkinson’s, or dementia. But if they hadn’t caught Covid, they might still be with us today.
Regardless of my relationship with my Mom, these people matter. They were someone’s loved one. Mom was the reason I made the Memorial. I started making face masks last Spring. Why?
If people couldn’t afford five dollars for a mask, they got them for free.
The people who passed, the people who still live. They are why the Memorial will continue.
Because life matters.