Remembering my Mother.

My mom with my boys a few weeks after she was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. She died about 11 months later. My goodness they look too young to watch go through something so sad. And, she looks so beautiful here, not sick. This is how I hope they remember her.

Today is Father’s Day. Today I celebrate my own father and my husband for their commitment to my boys and to me. But it is also the day my mother died. Last Sunday was her 70th birthday and today is the day she died. One week apart, a week after her 63rd birthday. Sometimes I forget she is gone. Even now, after seven years I will wake up in the morning and have to remember that my dream isn’t real, that she is not living and we can’t talk and laugh and cry and drink a margarita or some wine together and we can’t hug each other. But, most days I remember. It doesn’t hurt so much any more to be a motherless daughter.

I don’t usually cry anymore when I talk about her like I did in the first years. My sadness is more a dull ache, like the place where I cut my hand a few months ago and had stitches and healed, but still hurts sometimes. It is not the slice and throb that it first was when the glass sliced my hand and the stitches were new. The ache is more an abstract longing for her being able to see Nick graduate and her excitement that he is headed to Florida for college and new adventure. It is more the yen to hear her raucous laughter as she told something she thought was utterly hilarious. It is the hope that my boys will remember her voice as she told them something was “disgusting”. It is remembering what fun we had together when she came to visit me when I was studying abroad in Spain and we traveled around together, and knowing that we will never take a trip together again.

I often look at the photograph of my own grandmother who died when I was nine. I wonder about her. I wonder what she loved, what made her happy, and sad and angry. I wonder many things because I never knew her. But I feel like I know her through the portrait I have on my wall. I feel like I know a little something of her. I hope that my boys will remember their Gram through the image of the three of them together. I hope they will remember her laugh and her voice and the special things she did for them – like get Nick 11 scoops of ice cream on his 11th birthday, a few months before she died. I hope that Johnny will remember her because he was not quite nine when she left, the same age as I was when my own grandmother left me.

My mom and me on my wedding day almost 22 years ago. She was 48 years old – just a few years younger than I am today. It is still seems crazy that she is not here anymore.

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