Dear Mom, I Miss You

How fragile we are, between the few good moments.
~Jane Hirshfield

On November 30, 2009, my mother became an ancestor. Exactly one week later, on December 7, 2009, I met my son. These major life changes did not happen in a vacuum, they came when there were bills to pay, a friend’s daughter to grieve for, the aftermath of a tragic flood, a marriage ended, a love lost, a brother in prison, ongoing family mental illness, and profound darkness that seemed always ready to obscure the light.

At my mother’s funeral, I stood to speak, and my sister shouted, “You killed our mother!” I wrote the eulogy here and her husband commented that I made it up. I can look back on it now and see the humor in the moment. A friend described it as the most bizarre funeral she had ever been to that while I was standing up at the podium and my sister and brother were shouting at me, I was making the crazy sign as I spoke, unflustered.

My mother had given me medical power of attorney because she knew I was the one capable of putting a Do Not Resuscitate on her chart after two code blues and six months in the ICU with permanent tubes in every orifice. My mother had also given me so much more. She gave me fortitude.

After spoon feeding and cleaning up after my mother, I found myself spoon feeding and cleaning up after my son. Her presence surrounded me while I put the spoon to his mouth, swaddled him in a blanket, changed his diaper, and held him close to tell him I love him. She had taught me how to love; how to be a mother. She and her mother, my beloved grandmother, both said in their old age that the singular thing in their life that had made them happy was their children.

Next week, my son and I will celebrate our family anniversary, his adoption birthday, his homecoming. These events only one week apart are indelible bookends in my life. And always between the lowest point, my mother’s passing, and the highest point, meeting my son, are the days of ordinary living.

One Response to “Dear Mom, I Miss You”

  1. Mudd Says:

    You…
    What pain. What sorrow.
    What beauty. What strength.
    What LOVE.

    You
    are a bright, magnificent,
    soaring soul.

    I have so much respect and admiration for
    you!

    I thank your mother for her gift of you to us.
    May next week’s celebration be joyful
    and magical!

    All my love,
    always xox

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