This time of year is hard for me – as it is for anyone who might not have their mother with them any longer. About this time of year, I start reliving the last six weeks of her life because she died only six weeks after Mother’s Day. I don’t do it because I am morbid but because, as time passes, I find it harder to remember smaller details about her, her voice, the shape of her nose, the sound of her laugh…
My mother died almost five years ago. I knew that she was dying about a year before she actually left us and so I spent almost half of the last year of her life with her and had some great heart to heart, very honest talks with her that allow me to feel peaceful now. However, one thing that I really wish that I had done was to have my dad photograph us together. I would love to have that portrait to remind me of exactly how it felt to be with her, two adult women, one mother and one daughter, friends and connected spirits.
But, what I did do that brings me comfort, was photograph her with my boys, over her rather loud objections. (She was still recovering from a major surgery and just told she had stage 4 pancreatic cancer. She is wearing a wig because she was undergoing chemo. But she had on her ever-present lipstick.) I knew that this would be important for them to have to remember her, as they were so young when she got sick. I have a framed portrait hanging in my hallway near all of our bedrooms so that they can see it as they head to go to bed. Sometimes I find myself standing in front of it, remembering her. Even though she was just out of the hospital and did not feel well, I can still see her mischevious twinkle in her eye as she was telling them something crazy to make them laugh. It makes me remember her laugh and her soft skin on her hands and her warm touch.
We all need our mothers and I was lucky to have mine until I was a mother myself. Though I wish she could have seen her grandchildren grow into adults and help them along their paths in life, I feel happy to know that my boys had a chance to know her. She will always be with me.