I feel anxious. I know because I feel this pressure in my chest, like I'm having trouble breathing. This tightness that no amount of deep breaths or stretches can take away.
I go through my list of things that I could be anxious about. Going into the hospital tomorrow for my clinical rotation? Kinda. This or that thing that I may have forgotten? Maybe. I do a few things to feel more prepared for the next day, and I wait, hoping the tightness will leave.
Sometimes it does. Sometimes it doesn't. And when it doesn't, I know - I miss my mom.
Every time. Every time I feel anxious, feel the tightness, and I can't find the reason, somewhere deep underneath it's because I miss my mom. And even though I know this, even though I'm used to this, I never jump there first. I always have to work through the list, the this and that that could be causing my anxiety.
Mostly it comes out of nowhere - slowly building until I can't ignore it anymore. The chest tightness, the jaw clenching. The ways my body responds to a subconscious grief I don't even recognize.
Today it's because it's Palm Sunday, and she was born on Palm Sunday, 62 years ago. She came as the King came in, declaring his power and glory forever and ever.
But really, if I'm being honest, it's not because of Palm Sunday. It's because it's the Masters.
Every year I watch the Masters. My dad watched golf, so I watch golf. I really enjoy it, at least occasionally. The Masters are a must.
And every year it hurts.
Because four years ago when I watched the Masters she was dying. Really dying. Heart rate increasing, fast, shallow breaths, low blood oxygenation dying. Eyes closed, can't move, can't speak, asleep all day dying. I remember sitting in her bedroom with my dad, with her, watching golf. I can still picture it, clearly, like I just looked at a photograph.
It's been four years, but when I read my posts from those last two weeks of her life I can feel it happening, all over again. I can remember her whisper, remember her weakness, remember the loose grip of her fingers.
Every year I watch the Masters, and I remember that time with her. That end-of-life, body-shutting-down time. That sacred time.
And every year I feel that inexplicable tightness in my chest. Or every month. Every week. Every day.
All I have to do is wait, and it eventually comes down to the obvious: I miss my mom.