Friday is--or would be--my mother's 69th birthday, the fifth May 21st to pass by since she died. She would have been appalled at being so close to 70 (usually we say 'beats the alternative' but she's in a far better position to know how true that is), and would still be dyeing her hair, I suspect, determined to keep up the fight against time, or at least pull the wool over its relentless eyes. I can't remember the last birthday we spent together, and the unvarnished truth is that birthdays and holidays--especially Mothers' Day--were quagmires, quicksand traps, with virtually no potential for a feel-good outcome. So while I don't miss her any more on her birthday, or mine, I do still have deep moments of sadness and loss. More than any other single thing, I miss Sunday mornings...for most of her last three years, on Sunday mornings I would curl up on my people-eating couch, coffee scenting the room and warming my hands, and call her. We might talk for 15 minutes or two hours, about the kids, Linda, the weather, the festival, Mom's dog Brinn, relatives, her friends, work, books, movies, the love of her life that she couldn't bring herself to claim, and so on and on. Occasionally we argued (although she eventually came around, my early anti-war endeavors were met with disdain and anger, and it took her many years to get that Bush was not exactly one of the good guys). Occasionally the past lay heavy between us, a minefield to ever-so-gingerly pick our way through, lest one misstep set off a landmine and blow apart the fragile peace and relationship we'd built. Regardless of the weight of the past, those calls never felt like an obligation, and Sundays hurt for many months after the calls ended, before she died....one day, almost like a flipped switch, cancer took away all that made her who she was, and so I began grieving before she ever left. And I will wish, until I shuffle off this mortal coil, that I had beaten back my own fears and issues, and spent a few Sundays with her--in the flesh-- before she died, even though she probably wouldn't have known I was there.
Five + years later, I like to imagine she'd love this blog, enjoy hearing about the life my love and I are creating, would be tickled by Linda's new found bee love and my own wooly love affair, hungry for ever more news about the awesome men her grandsons have become. And five + years later, I still occasionally find myself wanting to pick up the phone and hear her voice on the other end, and grieving all over again.