My mom made a promise to me when I was little that she would always be with me.
This is the first memory I have of my mother—she's walking through a busy market road, trying to sort groceries for the week. Even in the bustling street, I felt a sense of safety and comfort knowing that my mom had me close to her chest. This was our ritual and I loved going out with her. Chaos became my comfort and I thoroughly enjoyed it. My mother was a simple woman. She loved the underrated joys of life and made the most of the little things. I learned simplicity from her and I cherish that, knowing I will not be a burden to anyone else because I have no extravagant demands.
If I had to describe my mother in one word, I would use "happy." I've never seen her upset or distraught about something; it gave me the strength to face all the hurdles life's been throwing at me. I was 27 and she was in her late fifties when she passed away. She had always made a big deal out of my birthdays but I don't remember the last time we celebrated hers.
My mom loved loud prints and colors and she had quite the wacky wardrobe, but that's what made her unique. She'd stand out in the crowd, no matter where we were. Once, during a trip to Washington, I remember how odd she looked amid a sea of coats and suits, but oh, she loved the attention. My mom raised me to be a strong woman, but she didn't teach me how to live without her. But, mom being mom, made sure I was in safe hands before she took her last breath.
I'm nearly 30 now, but there are still things I can't do by myself. On some days, when things get too overwhelming, I head out to find the busiest street possible to calm me down. Whenever I missed ma too much, I pull out my most colorful clothes from the closet and wear them. If I ever did feel like breaking down, I force myself to smile, and that automatically makes me feel better.
Sometimes, I feel like my mom's lingering around, especially when I hear her favorite song on the radio, or when I see someone else dressed in vivid colors. I sometimes spot someone who looks exactly like my mom in the crowd, and this has happened to me when I'm having a bad day. Honestly, such glimpses and experiences made me believe that my mom was going to be with me always, even though she's not around physically.
My son never got a chance to meet my mom. Once, when I was really struggling with my mental health, I desperately wished my mom was there because my son was sick and I needed a shoulder to lean on. My son was in the ER, and when I was on the verge of collapsing, I saw a nurse wearing a wacky sweater tending to my son, and could hear strains of my mom's favorite song playing in the background. At that particular moment, I felt like my mom was in the room, watching over my son and me.
They are always there, in the moments that we miss them or ache for them. They make sure to be there for us in some way or the other. All we need to do is just pay attention to see what's happening and we're surely going to notice them. My mom made a promise to never let go of my hand and even now, she keeps her promise, though she's not with me physically. Death doesn't break promises when it comes to moms and that's something I can truly vouch for.