Three and a half years. 42 months. 1,260 days. 30,240 hours.

That’s how much time has passed since you died, alone in the middle of the night in a hospital bed, cancer having slowly ripped every last ounce of life from your once-healthy body.

It was cruel and unfair, and I’m so sorry that happened to you. I always like to believe that there’s a purpose for everything that occurs in our lives, but 30,240 hours later I still can’t seem to wrap my mind around it.

I can’t believe how much has changed in those three and a half years, but life sure does look different than it did back then. Mostly for the better — I often hope you can somehow see the life that I’m building now and feel a sense of relief to know that I’m doing alright.

The backs of my hands look just like yours, dark blue veins and all. Every once in awhile I’ll put on your ring, the one I saw you wear nearly every day when I was growing up, and for a moment it’s as if I’m looking down at your hands instead of mine.

It takes my breath away just a little, but it makes me feel closer to you — one little tangible connection to you that I still have.

Even if your death still feels like a constant weight I carry on my shoulders, most days I’m able to manage pretty well. I try not to think about you too much when I’m out in public, or in the middle of a work day, in fear that once the tears start to fall, they won’t stop.

But I find that when I don’t allow myself enough time to sit with my sadness, it always finds a way of creeping up on me when I least expect it. Sooner or later, my grief always bubbles to the surface and forces me to confront, once again, the fact that you’re no longer here.

The other night I guess you could sense the emptiness I felt when I was really missing you, and you came to me in one of my dreams. There we were together, just you and me, and I felt a sense of peace envelop me. In the dream, I knew you were sick but was so glad to be able to spend more time with you — the one thing I keep wishing for again, and again, and again.

And then you took me in your arms and gave me the biggest hug, and I cried and told you that I was both happy and sad at the same time. And if that’s not the most accurate description of my life, I don’t know what is.

I really miss you, mom. Despite the huge hole in my soul that your death has created, I’m immensely grateful for more time here, more life. So many beautiful things have come my way starting at a time when I felt like it would be easier if the world just swallowed me up whole. I fought my way out of the darkness and am finally able to feel the warm light of joy slowly growing around me once again.

Maybe some of that light is being sent by you, one dream hug at a time. Please keep sending them my way.

Love you to the moon and back, still.

Sharing stories of humanity, family and my journey working with marginalized groups. Hoping to help conquer xenophobia with radical compassion.

Sharing stories of humanity, family and my journey working with marginalized groups. Hoping to help conquer xenophobia with radical compassion.