I miss you. I miss you. I miss you. I’ve said it a thousand times before. I say it a thousand times a day. I say it to my ceiling, trying to fall asleep at night, when the thought of you lingers in my mind. I say it under my breath, as I walk past the pictures of you that hang on my wall. I say it when I’m on the floor, completely broken, by the simple thought that you are not here.
I miss you. It’s a phrase muttered so often to those who have passed. But sometimes, “I miss you” can be a frustrating phrase, for moments when we feel like we don’t know enough about “our person” to truly miss them.
My mom died when I was ten. I know that she was kind. I know that she was beautiful. I know that she was an excellent mother. I know that her favorite color was wine red. I know that she was a great actress. I know that she loved the Yankees. I know that she often helped others.
Yes, I am leaving out some things that I know for dramatic effect. But when it comes down to it, I couldn’t tell you much more about her that I learned first hand. I could tell you other things about her, but only things that are based on what other people, people who knew her longer than I did, have told me. But I don’t really know much.
I don’t. know. enough.
Again, I could hear things about her from friends and family all I want: it’s not the same as knowing her. There are some days that she feels more like a fictional character in my life, than a person I truly know, because most of what I know about her is things I have heard, not true memories.
People have said to me, “She’ll always be with you, because you’ll always have the memories you made together!” This is very sweet. A lovely idea, in theory. But what about the fact that as I grow older, my already small amount of memories are fleeting?
I was ten when she died. Ten years old. She gave me so much in those ten years: but like I said, those memories are fleeting.
After losing someone, grief is especially prevalent during the first few years without them. But as time passes, as you move farther and farther away from the last day you had with them, brand new feelings arise.
I had been feeling this “brand new feeling” for a while, before I discovered a name for it. It was a feeling of constantly being unsettled. Of something missing. One day, I realized what it was: That feeling was longing. My “missing” had turned to longing.
If you’re not following me, I once read something online that read, “Longing for someone is different from missing them. Missing is felt by the mind, and longing is endured by the totality of one’s being.” And that pretty much sums it up.
I long to remember everything about her. I long to be able to make memories with her. I long to make memories with the real her, not with the version of her with an 8 year old. I long to simply know her.
Some days, I do not miss her; I long to miss her. I long to have the memories that would allow me to miss her.
About a month ago, my family was visiting my mother’s grave. “I miss you, Mom”, said my older brother. In that moment, my heart winced, with jealousy and frustration. It was jealousy of the few more years my brother had with her, and frustration of the fact that I didn’t get those. “I long to know you more, Mom”, is what I told her on that day.
This is the harsh, un-sugar-coated reality of losing someone. Not that you won’t always love them, but sometimes, “I’ll always remember you”, is not enough. “I miss you”, is not enough. There’s more frustration, more unsettlement, and more longing than that.
I’ll always love my mom. I’ll always miss her too. But more than anything, I know I will constantly battle this feeling of longing. I will always long for more time, more memories, and more moments with her.
I long for more time with you now. But I’ll see you soon enough, Mama. -Liv
Liv Mazzola is a smiley 16-year-old with many stories to tell, and the desire to share her unique perspective with the world. She enjoys both performing and watching theater, reading and writing, and above all else, making memories with friends and family. Liv cannot wait to share her stories and philosophies and hopes to help others with her writing.