Saturday, October 14, 2017

“When someone asks you where you come from, the answer is your mother. . . When your mother’s gone, you’ve lost your past. It’s so much more than love. Even when there’s no love, it’s so much more than anything else in your life. I did love my mother, but I didn’t know how much until she was gone.”

~ Anna Quindlen, One True Thing

My mom would be celebrating her 88th birthday today. Thirty-two years ago, at age 55, she died suddenly and unexpectedly.

I can’t even remotely imagine her as an older woman. I can barely remember what it felt like to be a daughter. I’ve been older than she ever was for a few years now.

I wish we had taken more photos. I wish I had asked her more questions. I wish I had listened to her more. I wish I had spent more time with her.

Mostly, I just wish she was still here.

I wish I could go to her house and have a cup of tea, and maybe a matrimonial square. I wish I could tell her the latest news about her grandchildren—and her great-granddaughter.

As the years go by and her never-reached age increases I think about what it might be like if mom was still alive. Perhaps her health would be failing by now. In some ways, that makes her absence easier to weather but it doesn’t take away the grief for all those lost years.

Happy Birthday, Mom. Sure miss you. Still. Always.


I’m a writer, reader, and creative. I thought by now I’d have things figured out, but I keep coming up with more questions. I think that’s okay. I’m here most mornings pondering ordinary things and the thin places where faith intersects.
  1. The photo of your mother, elegantly tinged in color, is lovely. I know you miss her terribly.

    When we mis-behaved, my mother would belt out a sing-song tune “You’ll never miss your mother till she’s gone.” She had a long life but died unexpectedly at 96, just before she would have probably been too disabled to stay in her own home. My husband’s mother died at 55 also. He feels doubly bereft because she was the anchor in a family that fell apart – literally – after her early death.

    My mother and all relatives in that generation have become my ancestors now. I make peace with this fact as I continue to curate mementos, now diaries and autograph books.

    1. You are blessed to have many treasures from the past, Marian. I keep reading how the younger generations aren’t interested in our “stuff” and it saddens me. I get that things like dishes and furniture may not have a place for many young people, but letters and journals and such personal ephemera—these things are priceless.

  2. A beautiful woman, your mom. Just stunning. I wish you had had her longer! I don’t think any of us is ready to lose our Mom. I know I wasn’t. But I still talk to her (and the marvelous aunt that helped raise me). When I see something that reminds me of Mom, I say something like, “Mom, is that you?” She doesn’t answer, but I think she hears me. And when I am reminded of her or think of her, I say something (mostly in my head, sometimes out loud). Do we ever truly let go? I don’t think I will. I have just a few pictures of my mom that are displayed in my home. Mostly, I hold tight to the memories. Those are the most precious things to me. Blessings to you, Linda.

    1. When memories are all that remain they become all the sweeter. This truth guides me as I consider the memories that will be left behind one day when I’m gone.

  3. My mother passed unexpectedly, too, 17 years ago when she was 67 years old. My children were quite young, and through the years I’ve wished so many times I could sit with her and have one more cup of tea. Just for an hour. So many things I needed to ask her. I think of her every day, and still talk to her. Your mother is just lovely, Linda.I think we are blessed to have had mothers that we still miss and loved so dearly.

    1. I’m sorry you lost your mom suddenly, and much too early, Karen. We are both, indeed, blessed to have had mothers we loved so much and who loved us much in return. The void their passing left will always be there, I believe. The blessing will too.

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