This is a long one, but it could never be long enough. It literally unbelievable to me that it’s been six months since I’ve lost my mom and over 2 years since she was diagnosed with Cancer. To say the recent past has been a hazy mess of a journey is the understatement of a century. It has felt like seconds, while also like an eternity. I feel like I haven’t spoken to her in years and simultaneously like I just hung up the phone with her a few seconds ago. I honestly don’t know what to feel most of the time other than cheated out of every second she isn’t here. But on the other hand I have to be fair and realize how lucky I am to have had her for as long as I did. I have thousands of memories of her that I relish daily.
I’ll never forget the time she thoughtfully told me it might be best if I revealed my personality slowly to my new colleagues once starting a new job. This statement was followed up with a lot of encouragement about my individuality and how everyone loves me, eventually. It was actually good advice that nobody else could give but a mom. Another time I received a call at work. Of course, it was my mom, as she is the subject of this post and also the only person that called me at work. She informed me she had picked out the name of my first child. It was Maclovin’. I informed her she couldn’t steal a name from the movie Superbad for my unborn child. We moved on.
I also used to love when I would call her at school and she was typically busy- since she was at work- so she would put me on the phone with her students while she gathered paperwork or answered other calls that came in while we were chatting. I knew all about little Harry, her triplets, Emily, and other little cherubs. Some of her “regulars” needed daily medication, but many just wanted to talk. I totally get why.
My mom was also one to burst out into song at any given time. She was many things, but a strong singer she was not. My favorite tunes were from her camp days. There was one that went something like ”Chikum M sweet, hambone an fine.” I can almost hear her now singing in a key of her own and ending the tune with a little holler. She also had a quirky take on the pronunciation of certain words like karaoke (Kah-ray-oh-kay) and gigalo (Gigg-alo). The discussion around Gigalos is a whole other story.
Pronunciation aside, she was an excellent fake conversationalist. She could carry on a hypothetical scenario (one of my favorite activities) with me for impressive lengths of time. We once carried on a pretend interview with Oprah for our co-written novel for about an hour. We also drove from Cape Cod to Ithaca New York managing to surf the radio and listen exclusively to Pearl Jam’s remake of “Last Kiss” for the entirety of the ride. We could stretch things out.
I loved how she would invite herself to anything shamelessly. Random Bar Mitzvah or wedding? She was on that list faster than any other. She would have invited herself to any of my parties, if she weren’t the first person on my guest list already. I loved that she proposed a toast for every occasion and expected all to contribute. I loved that she preferred her food burnt, especially popcorn. I also loved that she stole Splenda from any single location that offered it. I found one in a purse pocket last night and felt the urge to both smile and cry. It was just so her. Splenda everywhere just in case she needed to sweeten something on the run.
In sum, I miss every thing about her. I know that had none of this ever happened we would argue and I would take her for granted, just like one does with the most precious people and things in life, unwilling to accept they could ever be gone. She was always the first to tell me. Life isn’t fair. I just have to imagine that she is somewhere doing something great at some fabulous party she managed to sneak into. Or maybe just singing to her own tune with stolen Splenda. Wherever she is, those that are with her are lucky. Love you always woman.