14 years ago, I lost my family.  I got a new one.  And lost it all over again.  It hurts, but hurt fades.  I know.

Since my mom died, as the years have gone by, each year has gotten easier.  My highschool counselor once told me that the journey through grief was like the growth rings of a tree.  The epicenter, the moment of destruction — when the life that you knew disintegrates — is the center of the tree. And as you grow, you move away from that center, round and round you go.  Until one day that epicenter doesn’t completely drown you.   Years ago, she pointed very close to the center of that circle and said that I was right there, but that one day I would be further out and it wouldn’t seem so devastating.  And until this year, my journey through grief and loss, had been just like that.

This year is harder than others.  14 years today.  Almost as long as I knew my mother.  In a few years, she’ll be gone for as many years as I had her.  In the years without her, I had consoled myself with the thought that I had replaced her.  And because I had replaced her, I didn’t miss her.  As much.  The people that adopted me, gave me (an only child raised by a single mother) a mommy, daddy, 2 brothers and 2 sisters.   The family I had wanted my whole life.  Only it cost me a lot.  Maybe too much.

To join their already established family, I assimilated.  I erased myself and became what they wanted.  I was too aggressive, so I became more passive.  I was too stubborn, so I learned to listen.  I gave them white hairs with all my going out, so I settled down and got married.  I wasn’t religious enough, so I embraced their beliefs and began to practice as they did.  They didn’t like my friends, so I gave them up.   Their kids, I parented when they didn’t.   My inheritance, I put in their hands to do with as they wished.   Above all, I tried to earn my place in their family.  I just wanted to belong.

My mom once told me that our family consisted of two people.  Her. And I.  We couldn’t count on anyone else.  I didn’t believe her then, but I understand now.

There are so few exceptional people in this world.  People you should put your trust in.  People you aren’t afraid to give your heart to.  People who will accept your devotion, time, obedience…money, and say, “Thank you, but no thank you.  Your love is more than enough.”   I thought because they were my new family, they were my exceptional people.  I was wrong.

I know who my exceptional people are now.  And I won’t forget.

Mom, I miss you.  More than I ever have. I wish you could see your granddaughters.  They are beautiful and funny and often times ferocious, like you.  You would have loved to spend time with them. I wish they could have known you.  Despite your faults, you knew how to love.  But you taught me, and I will pass it on.


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  1. May 3, 2011 at 6:28 am E. M. Rowan

    Your mom sounds like an exceptional person. And I know without a doubt that YOU are an exceptional person. Anyone who can’t see that . . . doesn’t know the true meaning of love. Thank you for being a person I can trust in and give my heart to. Love you.

    • May 3, 2011 at 11:23 pm Syd

      Thank you E! I love you, too *hugs*

  2. May 3, 2011 at 6:32 am wont

    Your mom would be so proud. Look at what a champion you’ve turned out to be. Hugs.

    • May 3, 2011 at 11:23 pm Syd

      A nice comment from Wont? While her rank is what it is? Now I know you love me 😉 *hugs* Thank you for your support.

      • May 4, 2011 at 6:05 pm wont

        You silly! Of course I love you! I can see passed all of your tortuous ways (toward me) and see who’s really there! Don’t focus on that phone call, step back and look at what you have. The family YOU and your husband have made. It’s proof! No one can deny. Revel in it, you’ve earned it. Hugs…yes from me!

        • May 4, 2011 at 10:58 pm Syd

          Thank you Wont! *blushes*

  3. May 3, 2011 at 9:39 am kristen

    Your love is enough for me darling! 🙂

    • May 3, 2011 at 11:24 pm Syd

      Your comment made me smile today. I can’t picture you EVER saying darling. Could you record yourself saying that and send it to me? Thank you for your support and friendship!

  4. May 3, 2011 at 10:18 am bontempscutie

    *hugs you tight* What a beautiful post. YOU are an exceptional woman! TG you found yourself and can build on what you have written here with your children.

    I lost my Dad 17 years ago, so I understand a little of what you’re feeling – he was the most exceptional person I have ever known. The tree analogy is perfect.

    Thanks so much for sharing this.

    • May 3, 2011 at 11:31 pm Syd

      *hugs you even tighter* Thank you for reading and commenting. I had an even shitier day than I thought I would. Right in the morning I got a phone call from the adoptive mother. Finally, after so long, I said what was on my mind. Aside from telling me that I was essentially a bad mother, too emotional and weak and that she hoped none of her kids turned out like me, and much more, it went great. And the real kicker? She had no idea what today was.

      So it was comments like yours that really got me through the day. Thank you for reaching out.

      And grief is grief, no matter who you are, who you lost, or how long it’s been. It’s a journey that irrevocably changes and binds you to others who have experienced the same. So I get you, lady. *hugs*

      • May 7, 2011 at 7:54 pm bontempscutie

        OMG! I just saw this! *glares at the adoptive mother* I am hear for you bb. Thanks for the hugs!

        • May 11, 2011 at 10:56 am Syd

          Thanks sweets 😀

  5. May 3, 2011 at 11:01 am Trader

    Your post really touched me. I’m certain your mom would be very proud of you. *hugs*

    • May 3, 2011 at 11:33 pm Syd

      Thank you Trader! You don’t know how much your support and love got me through today!

  6. May 3, 2011 at 11:32 am Shelley

    Syd, your Mom would be so proud. =) You are an amazing person with an amazing heart! Love you!

    • May 3, 2011 at 11:35 pm Syd

      Shelley, thank you for being such a loving and supportive friend. I appreciate you!

  7. May 3, 2011 at 7:05 pm Nindy Bal

    Syd, of all the years I’ve known you.. I have to say.. You haven’t changed one bit!! You are still the most beautiful person I know! You amaze me every time! You were everything to your mom, she would be so proud of you today. You’re mom was right, back then you two were a family but now god has blessed you with your own. You are so lucky to pass on all the love and trust your mom gave you and taught you to give. I don’t say it often but thank you for being the person that I’ve always looked up to.. You will always have my heart! You are truly an exceptional person! I love you. I miss you. Xo xo xo

    • May 3, 2011 at 11:40 pm Syd

      Oh Nin, thank you so much for your love and support. Your words bring tears to my eyes. Despite the distance and years that have separated us, the friendship we forged on the neighborhood streets of Vancouver will never fade. You have and always will be my very first best friend.

      Thank you for reading and commenting — your words lifted my spirits today.

      I love and miss you too *hugs you super tight*

  8. May 3, 2011 at 11:31 pm engarde

    What a beautifully written and moving post. I’m proud to know you. Love you girl!

    • May 3, 2011 at 11:41 pm Syd

      Thank you Eng. I’m proud to know YOU! Your love and support mean so so much! Thank you! Love you too lady!!! *giant squishy hugs*

  9. May 4, 2011 at 8:26 am Shirl

    Although I don’t know you, personally, this blog shows what an exceptional daughter – and mom you are. Happy Mother’s Day!

    • May 4, 2011 at 11:00 pm Syd

      Thanks Shirl! Happy Mother’s Day to you too!

  10. May 7, 2011 at 2:42 am N

    I love you, my rock 🙂

    Much love,


    • May 7, 2011 at 12:16 pm Syd

      Love you too!

      I just had a funny thought — if I’m your rock, are you my moss??? ROFL.

  11. May 7, 2011 at 12:11 pm Sundeep Kaur

    Waheguru! Waheguru! Satnam!

    • May 7, 2011 at 12:17 pm Syd


      Thanks for reading, Panji!!!

  12. Pingback: What I’ve Learned About Blogging — Syd Gill

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