On the Upcoming Anniversary of My Mother’s Death
January 30 will be the 28th anniversary of your passing. It seems like so many more years have gone by, so much of life has occurred and disappeared.
The memories are so vivid of the few weeks before and the several weeks after. The terminal diagnosis, the fog in the hospital corridor, the roaring lion that came out of my voice insisting to relatives and doctors that we bring you home instead of shutting you away in a convalescent hospital.
A compassionate hospice nurse, the tearful and honest talks we had in the few days that remained, your last breath, the doctor who surreptitiously slipped your wedding ring into my hand just before the coroner arrived with his black bag, my horror of watching them take you away, my brother arriving just in time to kiss you good-bye.
Taking two days off to mourn, returning to someone packing up your home, stealing memories that to this day weigh heavy upon my heart. Weeks later, reaching for the phone every Wednesday at lunch to call you and check in, getting the number halfway dialed, then realizing no one would be there to answer. I legally took your first name as my middle name, afraid your memory would fade.
We used to talk about everything – about my worries, failures and successes. About your friends unable to talk with you when you were first diagnosed with breast cancer. More and more I missed those talks as I got older and made more and more mistakes. You were the only one who never considered me the black sheep of the family. You were the only one who understood who I was, down deep, down to the core.
Tears come spontaneously as I write this, and I remember people telling me after two or three short years that I should be over it – the death of you. The death of my only mother. I still miss you. I still ache to tell you everything, my sins, my successes, my transformation. I still grieve for my mother’s hug, still wish I could crumble into your arms and have you stroke my now-white hair, tell me it will be all right.
Somehow, as the tears continue to spill, I know you are reading over my shoulder. You are – have always been – a part of me, through my DNA but also through my spirit and my memories. You have given me the best of you, and I am thankful for that. You have given me the peacemaker, the writer, the heart of me. Hell, you even gave me the breast cancer. But you and God saw me through it. You always told me I was a risk taker and a survivor. You have given me the courage to go my own way. Because of you, I have.
And I will until I see you and God again, face to face.
Your loving daughter,
This letter can also be seen on My Thoughts on a Page