It is no secret that my mother and I had a strained relationship.
The funny thing is mother understood completely.
She had the same relationship with her mother.
We even joked after seeing a TV show where a woman complained to her friend that she couldn’t make it 15 minutes in a room with her mom.
The lady wanted to know her secret about how she made it that long.
I can see mother now. She would tell a joke like that and cover her mouth when she laughed.
It was like saying isn’t that terrible and funny all at the same time.
Today she would be 70.
She has been gone almost 5 years, but today has been tough. In every sense of the word.
I thought mother should be who I wanted her to be instead of who she was.
When her health declined I thought I could insist on her recovery.
It is hard to admit that your parents are not invincible. Especially when the safest place in the world has always been lying next to her.
Just like yesterday, I can remember the rumble of a thunderstorm in the middle of the night. Running to my parents bedroom and that rare occasion that we asked to sleep with them and the answer was yes.
When we snuggled under the blankets, all was right in the world.
I looked for that same security at the end of her life. I climbed in the hospital bed beside her and cried like a baby.
In our last conversation, mother apologized.
But there was no need for that.
In her absence, I miss every thing she was. Not what she wasn’t.
I am so very thankful for her cards and letters. Her little notes of encouragement now hold new meaning. They seem to be written to my current situation.
Cheryl, you are on your own now…
It was written for a girl who moved away to college but it is cherished by the daughter who is learning to live without her.
I see her when Reagen is sleeping.
I hear her when I sing to Hadley. Songs come back to me when I rock that baby girl that I haven’t heard in 40 years.
I was the oldest and as difficult as it was to see your health decline, I am so very thankful that I got the best of you.
Just like the way you wore perfume. When you got ready to go somewhere, no one on earth has ever smelled better to me.
When young boys talked about my mother being good looking when I was a kid, it would make me so mad.
But they were right.
And when I fussed about you being your own kind of crazy, I feel that so deep in my own soul.
I now embrace my own crazy. And life is so much better.
Just like today, I talked Jeff into driving me on a 4 hour trip to see my baby sister.
A dresser is in the back of our truck.
Maybe the possibility of an impulsive road trip and a bouquet of flowers makes me feel close to you.
Maybe it’s the crazy.
Either way I love you.
And what I wouldn’t give for 15 minutes…