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Mothers Day: A Memorial

It is hard to believe that I will be spending a Mothers Day without my mom to razz and harass about putting up with us kids the way she did. No silly card to buy, or tacky little pins she loved to collect and wear on her apron at work, no eat-and-run dinner at my house with her bringing the chilled wine in a crumpled and torn brown paper bag. None of her suggestions on how to put the dishes in the dishwasher, or calls suggesting that I watch this or that show on TV.

Mother is gone- and six months into Year Zero, it is still hard to believe that it happened. She had gone into the hospital to get chemo and radiation for the recurring cancer of her throat that had robbed her of her voice in 1981. Because she was so underweight, they installed a stomach tube to help feed her. They underestimated how malnourished she was, and when it got infected, she had no reserves to fight off the infection, and it killed her. She was 66.

It is hard to acknowledge and accept that I will never get to share with her the interesting parts of my job, my web pages, writing, and accomplishments. She won’t see what I will look like when I get my breast reduction done, or see my home when I finally build or buy it. She won’t get to ask for any of the lovely patchwork jackets I am designing, or see the new market that my father and sister and brother have moved to. I wonder what she would think of what they are doing to the place the old market was at, or how my dad has redone the house- or of the new car he got?

It is hard to listen to all the Mothers Day advertising claptrap and sentimental goo without thinking of my own hardworking mom, who was an Air Force wife, then a meat-market co-owner. She was able to up stakes and move us halfway around the world, and rarely complained about some of the places we had to live in- from hotel rooms to cinderblock houses with hurricane shutters and geckos. She never messed with our heads, nagged us unnecessarily or pushed boys at us- she accepted us for who and what we were. I, for one really appreciated that. I also appreciated her giving me a love for books and music that sticks with me still, and for tolerating my geekier tendencies- like playing with bugs and lizards and computers instead of doing the girly-girl things. I resented it at the time, but I now appreciate her handing the little brother babysitting duties to me- it broke me of any desire to ever have babies of my own.

I know it was tough for her at times- moving everywhere, running a business, enduring my brother’s endless problems- but she was a trooper nonetheless. She was married 45 years the week before her death. I wish she could have seen 50. But wherever she is, I am sure she is happy, pain free, and able to speak. And even though she cannot be here to see how our lives eventually spin out, I am sure she is here in spirit, and quietly proud of all of us.

Thanks for everything, Mother. You are sorely missed.


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Dating Dad- 1953 (?)

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Mom and me- 1992

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Dad and Mom- 1996

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