We would have been celebrating my mommom's 91st birthday this past Monday, on July 16. Unfortunately, she passed away in 2017 and ever since that fateful day, I have felt a kind of emptiness inside of me. There will always be something missing from my life now.

Growing up, Mommom was a staple in my day to day life. My mother has always been close to her, so she tried to keep her in mine and my brother's life as much as possible. Whether it be going on shopping trips, having her over for dinner, or visiting daily to play with her dog and watch General Hospital, she was always there.

More often than not, I would sit next to her on the couch and spill the latest hardships in my childhood life, which soon turned into middle school, and then high school. She was always there to listen and cheer me up, seemingly without even trying. Just seeing her would put a smile on my face. She was the person that created my whole family, the reason I have such a wonderful bond with my relatives. She brought us all together on holidays and for birthdays and made sure we stayed connected.

How different my life is now that she's gone. It feels weird, not being able to call her to tell her I got into college, to tell her that I finally decided what I wanted to do with my life, that I'm actually in a healthy, stable relationship. She wasn't at my graduation or my 18th birthday, nor will she be there for my 21st, my college graduation, or when I have children. She met my baby cousin but now that she's gone, he won't remember her. That's something that has been extremely hard to deal with.

Sometimes I sit and think about how hard it is to grasp the fact that someone was there, someone who shined such a bright light on my life, and now she isn't anymore. She taught me so much; what it means to love unconditionally, how being positive can impact a person, how to be a good listener.

My mother told me that in 1999, Mommom was sick and ready to let go of her life. However, my mom told her she was pregnant with me, and right then and there, she decided that it wasn't time to go. She was determined to be around for part of my life and she stayed for 17 more years. Hearing that from my mother I knew. I knew she fought to be here for me, then my brother, and all her great-grandchildren after us. She was meant to be here for me, to teach and support me as I grew up. It would be selfish to try to keep her around after she knew she was ready to go.

My mommom was on this planet for 89 years and she impacted so many lives, created a beautiful family, and was a beautiful soul. It is comforting to know that she is finally resting and reunited with her husband, her parents, and her siblings. I know she is looking down on me, wherever she is, and I know she is proud of what she sees.

If you have lost a close relative or friend, I hope you can find solace in my story. I hope you can reflect back on the time you had with them and see the beauty in it. I also hope you find comfort in their watchful eyes looking over you, even if you can't see or feel them. They are there and they love you.