In Memoriam

Three years ago today I came home from a performance of Oklahoma! to have my stage makeup removed by the bitter tears of a child who no longer had a mother-- my own tears.  It was the most devastating night of my life, coming home to find just a shell where my mom used to be, and it remains so vivid in my memory.

Today, although I'm living one thousand miles away from where I saw her body, surrounded by people who have never met her, and pursuing a career I never got to tell her about, I feel her.  I wouldn't need to know the date to know what today is.  There is a sadness that permeates the very marrow of my bones, that's so engrained into my every cell that I can't escape feeling my feelings today.

And I'm glad of that.

Because no matter how hard the past three years have been for me, they've also been some of the best years of my life.  I've not taken for granted the 17 years I had with my mom, and I've tried to learn every lesson from her twice over.  I've put myself on the line and shared my soul with people.  I've lived a more fulfilling life than I would have thought possible.

I can't be selfish and want her back.  Yes, I miss her.  And as difficult as life events like going to college, getting engaged, breaking off the engagement, and working amazing internships are without her, I wouldn't wish her three more years of suffering.  Yes, she lived life to the fullest, as far as I could tell.  But she was also trapped in a body that would not listen to her.  She fought it as hard as possible and never let it extinguish her dreams.  That being said, it could not have been easy.  I never saw my mom cry because of her disease, I never saw her let MS degrade her spirit.  But as I grow older and begin to really follow my own dreams, I can't imagine how she did it-- how she got up every morning and decided to make the best of the life she had rather than lay in bed and bemoan the life she lost.

My mom was the best role model I could ever ask for.  The way in which she gracefully handled even the nastiest aspects of MS taught me how I should approach life without her.  I wouldn't be even a tenth of the person I am today if she hadn't been my mother.  And to be honest, I wouldn't be half the person I am today if she hadn't finally been freed from her disease three years ago.

So today, while I embrace all of the feelings that flood into me without warning, I'm going to take a step back from the world and allow myself space to think.

But no matter what, today is a day to honor the memory of a woman who impacted more people than she could ever know, and whole lived a life worth emulating.


  1. Faith. The faith that it all would be right in the end ... that is what kept her going. Faith that she could hopefully help someone else not have to experience what she was going through.

    She would be so proud of the young woman you have become. You are courageous and independent. You share yourself with so many and stay true to your heart. I can feel her smiling down on you and know that it is good.

  2. You're such a strong woman. I'm sure your mom would be proud that you have grown into her likeness. Thoughts are with you today Madysen.


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Meet The Author

I'm Madysen, born and raised in Nebraska but now living out my dreams in New York City. I moved here to go to Columbia, but living in New York has become so much more to me. This blog is a space where I can share my experiences of reconciling my midwestern upbringing with the life I live in the city. But even bigger than that, this blog serves as a space where I can try to understand where I fit into the larger social world, where I want to go in life, and how I want to go about pursuing all of these endeavors.

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