I still miss the daily phone calls. I miss being able to drive over to the Home for Wayward Seniors and see her. I miss hearing her stories and her infectious laugh. I miss her wonderful hugs that comforted and encouraged. I even miss the calls that came when I was half-way to her apartment with groceries to tell me she had just remembered that “most important thing” that she had to have. Every single time. Most of all, I miss the knowing…knowing that her unfailing love and support were always there for me, no matter what. That foundation that I took for granted as always being there is gone.
It’s hard to believe it’s been two years ago today since my mother passed away. I don’t think I will ever forget even the most minute details of our last days and hours together- how could I? They are etched into my heart and soul. I want to hold tight to each and every memory of her- even the heart-breakingly sad ones. I was there with her until the very end, I faced all of the painful decisions while struggling with insurance and nursing homes, trying to help her land in a comfortable and safe place to spend her last time on earth. I watched her struggle to breathe, and I watched her face death with courage and dignity.
I don’t want to forget any of it- I owe her that. I also owe her the debt of keeping her memory alive by celebrating all facets of the woman she was- not just the sadness of the end. With that in mind, I went into the old mahogany chest that was Mom’s and found some photos of her as a young woman. It’s easy for me to forget that she was once young, filled with hopes and dreams of her own. I loved seeing the same spark in her eyes that was there when she was ninety-two. It never faded. Neither did her fashion sense.
(In this last photo, she was with her boyfriend, Bill Wilson, wearing the infamous ‘Gone With the Wind’ dress that she said was her favorite dress ever. A bee got in the dress once while she was on a date with Bill…’Things’ like that always seemed to happen to Mom (and to me…the apple didn’t fall far from the tree).
It’s funny how anniversaries can bring such strong memories and emotion. The gut-wrenching pain of loss has faded away with time, but today…today my heart aches. I miss my mother. I will always miss my mother. But you know what? When I miss her the most, that’s when I know she is still with me, still enveloping me with her love and her protection. And for that I will always be grateful.