This is an open, public letter to my mom on the 5th anniversary of her passing. It was cathartic to write and I hope it’s meaningful for you to read.
In memory of Monica C. Holahan Ward
December 20, 1964 — July 4, 2014
I don’t like measuring the passage of time. In fact, I resent it. But today, I can’t ignore it. Because it’s July 4, 2019 and that marks exactly five years without you.
Five years and I still think about you every day. Your strength. Your poise. Your graciousness. Your love. The way you rocked that wig.
Today feels like a big one. It feels like I should be “over it” and have “moved on” with my life. Multiple people have told me this is the moment of closure, that five years is the final nail in the coffin. [That’s a terrible pun, I know. Forgive me.]
But it doesn’t feel like that’s possible.
The measure of a good life, I’ve learned through yours, is that it holds value even when it’s over. A good life is measured not in legacy per se (that’s more concentrated) but in the ripples it creates. You were like a boulder thrown into still water, creating tsunami-sized ripples all around. People I’ve never even met still reach out to me to tell me how much they loved you, how much they miss you, how much you impacted them.
Your death has taught me as much as your time on earth did. About you. About life. About family. About myself. Everything I thought I knew to be true has been questioned or disproved by the mere fact of your passing. Maybe that seems dramatic, but it’s true. I’ve been forced to look under the hood and figure out how this whole thing — this whole life without you — works.
There’s no denying how hard it’s been. I was an adult child when you became Angel Mom. Though I was old enough to reconcile all of it and rationalize your death, I always expected we’d have more time. I expected you’d be here. But it’s okay that we didn’t and okay that you aren’t.
Because if souls really do travel together across time, space, and lifetimes, if there is such a thing as soulmates, I know you are one of mine.