Today would have been my mother’s 67th birthday. She was born at a time of war, to parents who were children of the depression. My mom embraced her gap generation, looking to her parent’s generation for values and ethics but also trying to fit in with the baby boomer generation.
My mom was a phenomenal woman who became my best friend. For a very short period of time I can truly say that she was my friend and not just my mom. Which made her death even more bitter for me.
I have very little left that belonged to my mother. Most of her stuff is with my brother, if he still has it. I took a few pieces of jewelry, most which she never wore. I have her earrings. Well, I should say, I have her earring. One was lost at the hospital when she was put on life support. I had a copy made so I could have a pair, but it’s not the same.
I have very few photos of my mom. She never liked having her picture taken, so the few that I have are from my college graduation. My grandma has more of when my mom was younger, as well as Super-8 movies so I can see my mom as a child.
I have one audio cassette. Actually, my grandmother has it in her safe. I’ve never listened to it, but it’s labeled as a conversation with her father. I don’t know what it’s about, when it was recorded, or if the quality is good enough. My grandfather told me about it shortly before he died, but asked me not to listen to it until after my grandmother passed away. That makes me think there is something on there my grandmother should not hear. It’s quite possible she’s listened to it, because my grandma is a rebel like that!
On days like today I’m filled with such bittersweet emotions. I’m overflowing with the love my mother gave me. Her dedication to raising me and my brother to have a better life than she did, despite setbacks. Her love for helping others is deeply embedded within my soul. Her caring ways and desire to lift others up are constantly part of me. It brings a smile to my lips. And tears. Lots of tears.
I miss my mom like crazy! Some days I am so angry at her for leaving me. For going off to a place where she has no pain. Yet leaving me here to fend for myself. As if I am an adventurist ready to find a way to survive even the harshest conditions. I’m soft, she should have known that and not left!
There are days I’m so mad at her for not being here. On my darkest days I’ve yelled for her as loud as I can, hoping this is all some kind of horrible, terrible dream. That I’ll wake up and find her standing next to me telling me it’s not real. Sometimes I can see her. And one smell can bring my mom back to me. I know she’s there. I know she was there when my daughter was hurt, I want to believe that. But then I’m so angry that she didn’t stop it.
I heard her voice as I took an oath promising to tell the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth. I saw her smile. The smile that said I’m proud of you. A thin smile with sparkly eyes. I could see in her eyes she knew our day in court would not be for naught. But she wasn’t really there. When I needed her most, she was gone.
Yet in her 47 years she had so much. My mom was truly happy. She embodied passionate living and even though she drove over some very rough roads, she kept on driving. She knew to keep going. She laughed a lot. She had deep conversations with her father about all kinds of topics. Her brother was her best friend. She saw the Pope when she visited Italy as a young woman. She stood on both sides of the Berlin wall, and stayed up all night long watching the coverage of that same wall come down.
My mother had an eclectic love of music, which explains mine. She was adventurous and always ready for a new experience. She sailed to Europe when her father was stationed in Germany, never again getting on a boat after such intense motion sickness. She took her first plane flight when she was in her 20s, coming back to the United States.
She lived her life without regret. And today I honor her for leaving me with legacy.
Happy Birthday, MOM! I hope to be as good a mom as you were.