My last coherent conversation with my mom was on Mother's Day 2007. Ten days later she was gone. I visited her a few days before her death, but by then she needed so much pain medication that lucid moments were rare.
Still, the ache of losing my mom isn't the sharpest on days like Mother's Day or her birthday. It's on random days of the year when the good and bad moments of life come up–those moments that I want to share–that I'm hit the hardest by her absence.
Moments like my boys' first swim meet. The stress of moving out-of-state twice in one year. The excitement of our upcoming trip to Europe. My flat tire. These are the types of things that make me want to pick up the phone and give her a call. She would rejoice, commiserate, encourage, advise, and listen.
Like the time I took the boys out to dinner while my husband was out of town, and left my wallet at home. The manager finally let me write a check using my employee badge from work as ID. I felt so foolish and needed to tell someone, but my husband was on a plane. So I called my mom.
We laughed about it and I felt better. I miss those times.
Like all of us, my mom wasn't perfect. But she was a good, loving mother, who also excelled as a grandmother. No one could have asked for better. Certainly not me.
She instilled in me a sense of adventure, diplomacy, and an open mind. I learned to share my love openly with those I care about. She modeled patience, compassion, adaptability, and determination. And yes, she was human. She could nag with the best of them, and I learned that too. Just ask my kids.
When she died at age 58, I learned just how much I relied on her to be there. I always knew this. Her death wasn't a wakeup call or major epiphany about how I was living my life or treating my family. Not the way it is in the movies. But no matter how much you prepare for the loss of someone important, you can't really prepare.
So now, almost three years after her death I still want to reach for the phone to tell her about the little things in life. Those are the times when it hits me that she's gone. Those are the times I want to cry, and sometimes still do.
But I can also celebrate that we had that kind of relationship.
I was lucky to have her.
Lenora Murray, 1948-2007
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Sybir St. John