Five years! It seems so long ago and on the other hand it seems as if it had happened yesterday. The last time I saw you. The day you decided you didn’t want to continue the treatments. The day you called your closest friends to visit you at the hospital to say goodbye. Because you were exhausted and we all had to accept that. With Dad gone much too early … he would have been so proud of you, Mum. Your strength, to hold on for me … and we all understood, as hard as it was. You had fought long enough, we granted you the peace, not to be in constant pain anymore.
I know we didn’t always have the best relationship. We were too different and you were overprotective, always wanting the best for me.
But no matter what, you were always there for me. Driving me to ballet lessons and wherever I needed to go in my elementary school days, picking me up from the train station in the middle of the night when I returned from my weekends in Styria during my high school years, being a stay-at-home mum which I treasured so much. Having a warm home cooked meal when I returned from school every day. The fun we always had as a family before you became sick and were in pain most of the time, struggling through the days, every step, every little thing an ordeal with you having to use those crutches because after three tries they couldn’t risk implanting another hip replacement. I don’t know how you did it after Dad died. We admired you so much for going on, day after day. And we all would have been lost without some close friends of yours and my aunt, your little sister, who – apart from my sister and cousin – is basically all I have left now.
I had a great childhood, Mum! So many happy memories. Like waiting in the kitchen, looking down on the street from the 8th floor, playing word games while waiting for Dad to return from one of his business trips. Or counting red cars and singing in the car on our occasional way to Styria. Or helping you make vanilla crescent cookies during Xmas time. Or …
It’s the little things I miss the most. Not having a home anymore. Not having a place to go. Not being spoilt and cooked for. Not being able to call to ask for advice. Not being hugged by you. No Christmas, no birthdays, no funny gifts. No one who puts some effort into anything. Like you and Dad did. I try to keep up our traditions, to keep the memories alive, but it’s so incredibly hard sometimes. Missing the fun we had at our holiday feasts in Styria and Carinthia, the warmth, the laughter, the silliness … and realizing that everyone is dead apart from my aunt, your sister.
I was lucky, Mum, to have parents like you and Dad, supporting me, making me feel loved all my life and that makes it even harder for me to not feel completely lost at times. Even though you set me free to start a new life, my life, as difficult as it was to move to another country and start new, alone, knowing no one.
Dad always said that one day we all will see each other again. And I imagine you all sitting around a huge table up there, enjoying a cold Gösser beer, laughing and partying the way we did, all of you looking healthy and not ravaged by the cancer that took nearly all of you, looking down on me, protecting me from beyond. And that’s giving me the strength to go on …