As dawn broke and my eyes began to open, my thoughts immediately turned to my mother. Today is a special day but it is not a good day. Today is the ten year anniversary of my mother’s death and there is something oddly important about this number. Ten seems like a big number…a long time. It’s a meaningful anniversary but it is not a happy one.
Yet, I don’t want to dwell on her being gone today. Instead, despite the depths of my sorrow at no longer having her here, I want to celebrate who she was. So, that’s what I am going to do.
Describing my mother is no easy task. She was beautiful but stoic. She wasn’t warm but she was fiercely loyal to those she loved. She was funny without being comical. She did not waste words. She understood the value of action. My mother was logical but she believed in UFOs. She loved Star Trek and the Evening News.
There seemed to be very little my mother did not know. She was a vacuum of information…some useful and some not. Once while playing Trivial Pursuit she got a question about rap music. She knew the answer. How many people can say that about their mother?
My mother was uniquely able to connect with each of her children in very personal ways and with each of us she had a special bond, so much so that when she died, each of us was convinced we were her favorite child. Not all mothers can do that and it wasn’t because she nurtured us in the traditional motherly ways. It was because she knew us, each of us, better than we knew ourselves. She accepted each of us as individuals and even enjoyed that about her children.
When my mother died, she was on her second marriage but this was certainly her forever marriage. She loved and honored my step father with the entirety of her heart. She did not just love him. She liked him. They liked each other and this was obvious and refreshing and they were so fun to be around that when she died, I did not just grieve losing her, I grieved losing them together. Their joy for life and their understanding of what real love was, was unmatched.
There are people who believe that our loved ones are still with us after death. I don’t know if this is true or not. I don’t feel her presence. I feel her absence, even after ten years. It is profound and probably always will be because she was exceptional and when someone so extraordinary leaves your life, they leave a hole that cannot be filled. I honor that hole. I would rather live with that hole now and have had her in my life, than not have that hole, and never have had the pleasure to know her.
So ten years later, I still dearly miss my mother and it isn’t because I still need her. She raised me well enough not to. I miss her because she was fun to be around. I miss her because she was insightful and quirky and odd. I miss her because she had a fresh perspective on all things. I miss her because there is no one else like her.