It’s been three years but, in my mind, it seems like it’s been thirty. Sometimes, I struggle to remember. Maybe, I don’t want to remember.

Growing up, I wasn’t exactly an obedient daughter. I haven’t changed much. But as my father and I are very much alike, temperamentally, even when we clash ideologically, we somehow understand each other.

My mother, however, was created from another mold. Temperamentally, we were polar opposites. I, often, could not understand her ways. But now, I realize we were actually alike ideologically. I just never saw the similarities because we had very different personalities.

When my mother was alive, I practically ignored everything she told me. Now that she is gone, everything she told me is practically etched in my mind.

I was headstrong and hurtful—most times. I often wonder if my mother had any good memories of me. Why did I have to make things so difficult for her? Until today, I beat myself to pulp remembering all the pain I caused her.

That’s why I don’t want to remember. Because it hurts to remember. But there are some things I will never forget.

The power of prayer. My mother firmly believed in the power of prayer. She believed prayer could help her solve her problems. She believed prayer could help her discern better when she needed to make a decision. She believed prayer could give her the strength to go through anything life threw at her.

Now, I am exactly like her.

Forgiveness. My mother believed in mercy rather than justice. I, of course, believed in the opposite. I could never understand how she could turn the other cheek. I have, for the most part of my life, been unforgiving. In my book, mercy was something only God could give. From me, you could only expect justice.

But what is the point of not forgiving? We don’t forgive others to free them from their guilt. We forgive others to free ourselves from the pain. But in forgiving, we also find peace. And grace.

Belief in myself. My mother believed I could be anything I wanted to be. Her confidence in me was unwavering. In her eyes, I was “not just enough.” I was “more than enough.” And sometimes, “too much.”

She gave me the courage to believe I could take on the world and all its wild cards.

Thanks, Ma, for everything. And oh, you know all those things I used to scoff at and tell you to stop doing because they made no sense? Well, I’m doing all those things now and they make sense, after all.

It’s going to take some more time for me to learn to forgive myself. But know that I will get there. One day. And then, maybe, it won’t hurt so much, anymore, to remember.

Only three years? Why does it seem like it’s been thirty—thirty years without you. Time crawls when you’re in pain.