Before I dive into this article and my journey of what it’s like to be in college without a mom, I want to include a note to my dad. Dad, I love you so, so much. You are so incredibly amazing at stepping up to the plate when it comes to fulfilling both parental roles in my life, and I am forever grateful for all your hard work and loving encouragement. But, you will never be a mom, and nobody expects you to be. Love you J.
February has always been an unusually hard month for me. It’s the dead of winter, which in Missouri means its consistently below freezing outside. There are relatively no days off school. The only holiday to speak of is Valentine’s Day. And it’s the month of my mom’s birthday, a mom who passed away of cancer in 2015.
February 8, 2014 I was at home, surrounded by extended family who had made the trip to our home to celebrate my mom’s birthday.
We were surrounded by good food, good conversation, and a positive atmosphere.
Fast forward to February 8, 2016.
I was at home, with my family, desperately trying everything we could to keep the inevitably sad feelings away on the day that we had been dreading for so long- what would have been mom’s 45th birthday. Luckily I was surrounded by family who understood the unexplainable emotions of the day without having to be told.
And here we are, February 8, 2017.
I will be sitting in an anatomy lecture, a psychology lecture, and a Spanish lecture, all of which are 3.5 hours away from home and family- the only people that can truly understand what this day means to me.
In the past few months (from August 2016 to now, to be exact) I have done my best to grasp the concept of what college life is without a mom to call and nag you about your grades, diet, and even social life.
There is no magic laundry fairy when I go home, no mom to call with boy problems, or to ‘talk it out’ when I am stressed beyond all functionality. There is no mom to call me just to say ‘have a good day’ or ‘good luck’ when I have a hard test coming up.
In college, moms are sometimes seen as more annoying than anything else.
They call you at the most inconvenient times, nag you about grades and work ethic when in reality they have no idea how either are going, and they tend to try to put themselves in situations in which they don’t belong.
So many college students take their moms for granted, assuming they will always be there to nag and pester, support and motivate.
However, let me tell you one thing, your mom is the greatest gift you may ever receive. Do not ever take her for granted. There may come a day when you would give literally anything to hear her voice again, even if it’s telling you your grades could be better, and that you should really do that laundry you haven’t done in weeks.
In August, I moved 3.5 hours away from the place I’ve called home for 6 years.
Everything I felt comfortable with was in that place. Surprisingly, it was easy for me to cope with not having a mom, because to be honest there wasn’t a whole lot of change. It wasn’t easy- it will never be easy- but life around me stayed the exact same after my mom passed. It was easy to forget that life had just changed dramatically when my day-to-day life went about just as it always had.
Everyone around me knew my story.
They knew I was the girl who just lost her mom- the girl who was hurt, but kept going. I didn’t have to explain it to anybody, because they just knew. And for a long time, I found security in this. I would blame entirely unrelated events on the fact that I was still grieving, and people wouldn’t question me. I had it figured out, and I was able to cope.
Moving 3.5 hours away from home is hard for everyone, but when you leave the level of comfort and security I had at home, it’s much harder than usual.
Here I was, trying to figure out how to live on my own, all without a mom to call and check in and make sure I wasn’t washing my whites with my colors, or making sure I was eating my fruits and veggies regularly. I was quite literally left on my own, and nobody knew my story. Nobody knew that when they said their mom called, I felt just a tiny pain. Nobody knew that I didn’t have a mom to move me in and help me organize my closet. And I hid it- how do you tell someone your mom died? It’s not exactly the most casual conversation, and when you’re trying to make friends in a new place, it’s not exactly the friendliest of conversations.
Luckily I was blessed with an amazing support network- between my dad, aunts/uncles, close high school friends, and a great roommate, I was able to make the transition (a transition that I still haven’t totally figured out, may I add).
But there comes a time when that support network can only do so much, and you’re left with the rest. You’re left with the missing puzzle pieces, trying your best to complete the puzzle.
There have been days where they only thing I crave is a hug from my mom.
The only thing I need is to hear her voice just one more time telling me I am doing this right, I am on the right track, that I am going to be ok. There are times when I am so captivated by why I had to be the girl who lost her mom, that I just have to go to sleep and not think about it.
And then there are the times where I am so in love with my life and the people in it, that I can’t help but smile and thank the path I am on for leading me to these people and this place. There are times when, despite all odds, I am grateful for my past experiences for making me who I am today.
So to anyone who may be facing the same trials in life, or who may be about to face them: you will be ok.
There will be times when you are absolutely debilitated by the pain, and there will be times when you thank your past. There will be times when you want to punch the kid complaining about his mom, and there will be times when you just want someone to understand. But the beauty of this path you are on is it is your path, 100% unique to you.
There is a reason you are on it, and when all else fails, you have to find beauty in the small things. This road we are on, it’s not easy. It’s not pretty. It’s not one I would wish upon my worst enemy, but it’s mine, and I am thankful to be on it. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the past few months, it’s that moms are one of the greatest gifts in this world, and they never deserve to be taken for granted, no matter how much nagging they think they can get away with.
Have you had to experience what it’s like to be in college without a mom? Share in the comments below.
Featured photo source: tumblr.com
Truman State '20 Nursing major with a passion for writing • kcmo born and raised