The best stories being published on the SNO Sites network

Best of SNO

The best stories being published on the SNO Sites network

Best of SNO

The best stories being published on the SNO Sites network

Best of SNO

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Mother’s Day without a mom: Year 3

Used with permission by Keith Sandvall
The last ever picture of Sandvall and her mom at a volleyball game late Sept. of 2020.

Yet another year has passed, and I still hate Mother’s Day. Since last year, I have gotten two tattoos in my mother’s honor, met for lunch with her friends and worn countless pairs of her shoes, but still nothing has been able to change my opinion. Mother’s Day is a day I dread every single waking moment of the year. 

It has been exactly two years, seven months and one week since my mother passed and I still wonder how life could have been different. Today, I sit at my computer staring at a blank document attempting to find words for my last homage to the person I learned to love so fondly since I was an infant. The person who hasn’t physically been here but has continued to change my life. 

I was only nine months old when I was adopted from China by two Midwestern figures who I would learn to call mom and dad. However, for me, I would soon grow to believe that growing up alongside someone chronically ill was simply normal. Now, for many kids my age this seems scary. I’m not saying that it’s not, but looking back, the experiences and memories mean that much more. Yes, I spent days in the hospital with my mom and counting her pills but we also spent countless hours shopping and getting our nails done together. Chronic illness can take over someone’s life so quickly but not their soul, that part I believe will always remain untouched.

While being a senior is quite bittersweet already, it stings just that much more knowing she won’t be here to experience me in my new stages of life. Planning my graduation party, going on my senior trip, college move-in day and so many more once-in-a-lifetime events, all without her. Knowing the days were limited, I think about how my mother just wanted to make it to watch me walk across the stage at graduation. In these moments, there is a spot that has felt dead since Oct. 7, 2020 because she never completed her dreams. However, in those same moments it still seems so healthy when I can faintly see her smile and the twinkle in her eyes that I will never forget. 

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I owe so much to my mother and that may seem like a very obvious statement for many, but for me, it is one to be recognized.  The title she held as not only my mother but my best friend can never be replaced by anyone or anything. There is nothing I wish more than for just one last moment with her, but I know the laughs, smiles and memories of my beautiful mother will continue to fill my brain each and every day. My heart lights up at the thought of getting to share with the world the morals and kind heart this wonderful woman gifted me.

In my past three years writing this story, there is something that is yet to change. Yes, my undying dislike for this day, but more importantly, the importance of love and recognition in all we as humans do. Life is short. Don’t take time for granted. Love those around you and cherish the time you get to spend with them. 

I will leave you with something my mom preached since I could ever remember: “Be kind before anything because kindness reaches hearts much faster than hatred.” In other words, be kind, love always. 

This story was originally published on The Statesman on May 17, 2023.