My mother passed away when I was 16, and consequently she has missed all of my achievements in my adult life. She wasn’t at my high school graduation. She wasn’t there to see me graduate with top honors from Cincinnati State. She didn’t see me finally achieve my dream of graduating from Miami University. She missed seeing me get a job, return to school and graduate again with another degree from Cincinnati State. She wasn’t there to see me get a job at the top flavor company in the world.
My Na-na and Auntie Shirl were there. My Na-na attended my high school and college graduations. My Auntie, who loved sending cards in the mail, sent cards from San Diego with notes of congratulations. When I had difficulty finding a job after graduation, my Na-na and Auntie were there with encouraging words. They believed in me, and knew I would find a good job. When I finally did get that job, they were so proud. A few days later there was a card in my mailbox from my Auntie. She was so happy I got the job, and that I could now visit her in San Diego.
I lost my Na-na in 2017, and Auntie Shirl in 2018. Today I accepted a job offer at the company I work for. After 10 years of working in a lab, I am hanging up the lab coat and working in an office. It’s an exciting step forward in my career. As happy as I am about getting the job, it is bittersweet. The ones I most want to tell my exciting news to, I can’t. I can’t pick up the phone and call Mom. I can’t call Na-na, or Auntie Shirl. I won’t be getting a card from San Diego in the mail this time. I feel empty. I wish God would make a phone line to heaven.
When Mom was dying, she told me that she would have “the best seat in the house” for my graduation. Even though I couldn’t see her, she watched with the best view. She was present at every graduation. She was present when I got my first job. Today when I got my job offer, Mom, Na-na and Auntie Shirl had the best seats in the house. They watched as it happened. I have to remember that even though I can’t see them, they can see me.
They are present, always.