Remembering…

Today is the day, the day I used to dread.  But today, this day will be different.  I am not going to live with fear and dread and sadness.  She would not have wanted that.  Today I will remember and celebrate, not with sadness but with happiness for all the gifts she gave me.  Today is the third anniversary of the day my mom died. She had just turned 63 one week before.  Today I choose to remember her the way that I loved her and I will celebrate all that I loved about her.  I think she saved every single note, letter, card, picture that I sent to her (some are pictured in the image above) so remembering makes it easy. I have saved many that she wrote to me and I will take them out today so that I can remember her words, her love and her voice. Today I will look at the portraits that hang in my home; of the two of us together when I was a little girl, of her with my boys, of her and my dad on their wedding day and I will remember the person that she was and give gratitude for how she helped to make me the person that I am. Some things are beginning to fade – her voice, her laugh, the way she smiled – and that makes me sad. But, it is the pictures and the letters that will keep them fresh.  I don’t want to forget so I won’t.  I will remember the best times we shared together and everything she gave to me.  Perhaps one of the best times that we had together was when I was a junior in college and was studying abroad in Spain. She came to visit me for about ten days and we had an experience that I know few mothers and daughters get to share. We went to flamenco shows (the picture above of us together was taken at a flamenco show), a bull fight, took the train to Madrid and stayed in a beautiful hotel, went to the Prado, the Picasso museum, took the train to Portugal and had many long lunches and dinners together. Since I spoke fluent Spanish and she did not, she had to rely on me in a way that a child relies on a parent, so our roles reversed a little bit. Of course, she still payed for everything, but our relationship became more equal, more like we were friends hanging out together and less like a mother and child. It was the only time that I remember having my my mother all to myself, other than my first memory when I was two years old walking in the rain with her and then when she was sick and I would come to visit without my kids. But this was different, I wasn’t little and she wasn’t sick. We were just two women having fun together, laughing and talking. I am so grateful that we had that time together and that I had a chance to know my mother and love her and say goodbye to her. I have met many people in my job as a photographer who have suffered similar loss and so I know that I am not alone on this day. I have met some very special people who have experienced even greater sadness and loss and I feel humbled and privileged that my job has allowed me into these intimate places of people’s lives to connect with them and share our stories and memories.  It helps to connect and to share and not live isolated in your sadness and life experience.  So, today I will celebrate my beautiful, talented, funny, kind, intelligent, loving mother by remembering her and living the day with happiness, kindness, zest and fun, just like she would have done.  And then, tonight, I will drink some white wine in her honor, just like she would have done.

1 comment

  1. Mara – I came across this on your blog and it is beautifully written. I hope the pain lightens at some point and that your loss doesn't always feel so heavy. I've been through my share of loss. My mom gave me a book in college called September by Rosamunde Pilcher. Here is a quote from the book that I always refer to. “…Death is nothing at all. It does not count. I have only slipped away into the next room. Nothing has happened. Everything remains exactly as it was. I am I, and you are you, and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged. Whatever we were to each other, that we are still. Call me by the old familiar name. Speak of me in the easy way which you always used. Put no difference in your tone. Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow. Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together. Play, smile, think of me, pray for me. Let my name be ever the household word it always was. Let it be spoken without effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it. Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same as it ever was. There is absolute and unbroken continuity. What is this death but a negligible accident? Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? I am but waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just around the corner. All is well.”

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