My mom was born in late October, and nothing pleased her more than a windy, raw, wet day when leaves were blowing off the trees and flying through the air. She loved Halloween and had perfected a masterful witch’s cackle which she brought out on Halloween night to the delight of the neighborhood kids, and teased all of us with at the most unlikely times, “I’ll get you my pretty, and your little dog, too!”
Her last couple of years were spent in the memory ward of a nursing facility where she was often lucid, had wonderful memories of her early years, charmed the staff, and remembered all of our names right to the end. We shared so many wonderful conversations and a particularly stirring purple sunset that is indelibly etched in my memory.
I pushed her in her wheelchair outside the nursing home one October afternoon, her hair flying in the wind as we raced down the sidewalk and she cackled with delight. She told me how much fun she was having and asked me if I didn’t want to sit in her chair and have her push me for a while. That was so typical of her.
There was one of those perfect afternoons on Mom’s birthday last year, and I stood outside with my face turned to the heavens and tears in my eyes, wishing I could make a phone call to Heaven and hear her voice, ask how she is, tell her how much I miss her.
Just a phone call on her birthday to tell her I love her.
So often I think, “I wonder what Mom would think about our Becca having twins, how happy she would be that her great-granddaughter Makena made the high school soccer team, how unbelievable it is that my two older grandkids are learning how to drive now, and eight-year-old Aidan has such an old soul.
How many times do I have a seemingly insignificant question to ask her: who taught her to knit, where did that pretty little ceramic vase I have sitting on my desk originate, where exactly was my dad stationed during World War II?
I want to praise her bravery when my dad died so young and she was left to carry on, to tell her how happy we were that she loved again and brought a wonderful stepdad into our lives. I want to tell her I was in awe of her when she started singing Christmas carols with the visiting priest two days before she died, and that I understand why she called out for her mommy who she lost so young, just before she left us.
I call out for her so often in my soul.
My older daughter gave me a bracelet last year with an inscription on the inside: “Sometimes I just look up, smile, and say I know that was you.” It feels so true. She is ever in my heart and mind.
Just one phone call to heaven on her birthday . . . and maybe one on Christmas. Mothers Day would be wonderful, too.
I miss you, Mom.