When you think about it, a decade seems like an eternity, ten years, 3,652 days.
But when a date shapes every aspect of your life, sometimes those decades slip by in what seems like an instant. That’s what the last 10 years have been for me.
Between 4:30 and 5 AM on February 21, 2010, my mom passed away in her sleep. That moment changed my life forever.
In some ways those 10 years have felt like an eternity, but the hole in my heart, that still causes me to cry without notice still burns fresh and seems like just yesterday.
I was and will always be a mama’s boy, my mama’s baby. I cherished those roles.
In the decade since my mama passed away, the world has continued on, but without her as part of the day to day, it often doesn’t seem as bright, exciting or joyful. I miss my mama as much today as I did on February 21, 2010.
As I have been anticipating this milestone, I have thought a lot about what’s happened in the past 10 years…..
- I won my re-election as a City Commissioner in Lake Park, FL just a couple of weeks after she died. A job that just a few months later led to me being named acting Mayor after our Town’s Mayor also passed away.
- I got the best job I have ever had, one that I loved and eventually was promoted to East Coast Marketing Director for a national retail management company.
- I enjoyed some of the best times of my life, with friends who are “chosen family” on Hawthorne Drive in Lake Park, FL.
- Chelsea graduated from college.
- Zach graduated from High School and College.
- We had family vacations to FL and the Grand Canyon.
- Daddy lived a number of years at Cannonwood where they took amazing care of him before he passed 5 years later.
- I moved home to Clayton, she would have LOVED that!
- I quit my high income, awesome benefits job and started a business with Chelsea, eventually buying her out so she could return to Real-Estate & then starting a brand “Of These Mountains,” which now is becoming its own retail store.
- Chelsea fell in love with Brett, mama would have liked Brett, even though he is a Georgia Tech fan…. she wouldn’t have liked that part!
- Hadley Rae came into our lives, twisted us all around her little finger and became the light of all of our eyes.
- Chelsea and Brett got married, bringing us another bright light into our lives, Jaydynn.
- Donna stopped teaching and went to work with Sam. They continued to thrive in Real Estate and other ventures, eventually buying and developing their own RV Park. Mama loved to camp and she would absolutely love Willow Valley.
- We got closer to Puddin and Sherry. Puddin becoming the brother that we always needed.
- After graduation, Chelsea started her career in Real Estate and now thrives as one of the top salespeople in the county.
- Zach, graduated college, worked in hospitality in Athens and eventually moved to Atlanta with a wonderful career.
- Zach fell in love, finding a guy that makes him happy, enriches his life and fits in perfectly with the craziness of the Rumsey family.
- Chelsea moved into the house I grew up in, has kept the love of that old house in tact and now is raising her family amidst old memories and making her own.
- I have settled into life back in Clayton nicely. I have renewed old friendships & made new ones, but most importantly I have a deeper sense of family than I did when I lived away. We have fun together and our lives intertwine just enough, without being too much, to keep life interesting.
- We still argue about politics, but just like mama, Donna doesn’t let us do it on holidays or at the dinner table.
As I think about it, there are lots of things that happened since mama left us. Not everything has been great, but for the most part, I have no doubt that we as a family have lived the example she taught us. We put family first and try our best to be good citizens and neighbors.
I say mama left us 10 years ago today, her physical body did, but not her spirit, she remains a constant in every aspect of my life.
Rarely does something happen that I don’t think about picking up the phone to talk to her. I would give my arm to receive just one more hug from her, she was my light and with her passing that light dimmed, but it’s never out.
I know my mama is with me every day, and she has been in every moment I listed above and the thousands not mentioned. I feel her presence, I just hope I have done her proud.
Ten years seems like a lifetime, until something happens that shakes your life to the core.
I miss my mama.