Today marks the one-year anniversary of my mother’s passing. One year. And I have felt it at all the times I would expect to feel it, and I have felt it when I least expected it.
I didn’t sleep at all last night, staring at the clock, thinking of Mother.
I lost my daddy 12 years ago, so I gained some coping skills from that, but grief is grief. It’s going to happen, one way or another. I have been able to keep moving forward more than I did when Daddy died, but I’ve had moments.
I miss her all the time. She gave good advice. She had a calming demeanor. She wasn’t perfect, and she would be the first to admit that, but she was the perfect mama for me and my brother. I never knew exactly how much she loved me till I had my own child.
When do I miss her most?
I stayed in bed most of January. Friends brought meals, and I gave myself permission to give in to the grief for one month. After that, I rejoined the living. Here’s when I’ve missed her most:
- Every time I’ve gotten in the car. I used to call her and talk (Bluetooth) every time I drove somewhere. Living 400 miles away, I didn’t get to see her all the time, but I called her all the time. I’ve almost called her a thousand times since.
- When the Alabama Crimson Tide won the National Championship in January, she would have been thrilled. I missed her then…even cried that she missed it.
- In February, my parents’ wedding anniversary rolled around on the 18th. They married in 1961 on my maternal grandfather’s birthday. Every year, on their anniversary, we would talk about their small wedding and how her Aunt Ola came through to pull it all together. And we talked about her daddy…truly one of the most patient, God-loving men who ever lived.
- I missed her when my cousin, Patti, was searching for the perfect home for Mother’s dog. In the end, everything worked out, and Sam, the dog, went back home. It worked out the way it was supposed to, but I missed Mother, because I knew she loved Sam, and Sam loved her. I’m sure Sam still wonders about Mother, but she is living a happy life with my nephew in Mother’s home.
- In March, we vacationed with my brother and his family. Mother would have loved how much we laughed. She loved when we were all together. We missed her.
- During our daughter’s eighth grade basketball and lacrosse seasons in winter and spring, she would have wanted regular updates. When something exciting happened, I always wanted to call her.
- My birthday is in May. She always laughed at how excited I get about my birthday. Nobody loves a birthday like I do, and she would start singing to me days in advance. Missed out on that this year.
- In the summer, our daughter traveled to Iceland for two weeks. It was not easy for me, but she needed to do it. Mother would have suffered along with me during those two weeks. She would have called me every day, asking about updates from the trip leaders. She also would have been happy my husband and I took our own vacation during that time…visiting South Florida with my brother and sister-in-law. And Mother would have been as excited as I was when our daughter was back on US soil.
- I also had an eclectic garden in the summer…growing tomatoes, corn, and sunflowers, all favorites of my parents. She would have been amazed at the success I had. I wanted to call her daily and tell her about it.
- As summer came to an end and school sports teams tryouts came around, she would have suffered through that with me too. Our daughter, a freshman in high school, tried out for varsity field hockey on August 1. I sat in my car, waiting for my daughter to come out after the tryout… to find out if she made the team or not. I wanted to call Mother, but since I couldn’t, I called my friend, Jane, who said all the things she knew my mother would have said. Our daughter made the team, and they won the state championship! I wish Mother could have seen her play.
- When one of my brother’s sons visited us in Charlotte, I would have loved to share photos with Mother. And when the other one started a new job, a job that can lead to something real for his future, I know she would have been thrilled.
- When I met Dominique Wilkins, former NBA superstar, in a restaurant several weeks ago, I got in the car and dialed Mother’s number before I realized it. She loved sports and would have loved my photo with Dominique.
- Any time anyone in the family has gotten sick, I’ve missed Mother, a nurse. Two weeks ago, after an allergic reaction to a manicure (who knew?!?!), my hands broke out, and I sneezed for two days. A couple of days later, I woke up to find an enlarged lymph node in my neck. Fortunately, my pharmacist sister-in-law calmed me down. The next day, I went to the doctor, just like Mother would have advised. She would have called checked on me a few times a day. The node was enlarged because of an infection…viral or bacterial…and yes, it went back to normal after a few days.
- And the holidays. She would have loved our family gathering at my brother and sis-in-law’s lake house. We all laughed, played games, told funny stories, and ate too much. Mother would have loved it.
I miss that tiny little firecracker of a woman. Occasionally, people who knew her will tell me something I said or did brought back memories of her. If only I had her gift of calm listening.
Now…if you still have your Mother, call her or give her a big hug right now.