ago this morning I got the phone call I never wanted to get. Instead of Mom finally seeing the doctor who could help her, we had to fly home from Iceland, plan her funeral and begin trying to figure out her estate. All things I had assumed I would not have to worry about for years came crashing down on me at once.
Even years later, I still feel as though I am figuring things out. I still have boxes of memorabilia in the garage, tons of photos to go through and the feeling that I probably gave away stuff I shouldn't have and kept knick-knacks maybe I don't need. However, it's not so much that it's overwhelming and some of the more important items have a special place in a quiet corner of the dining room.
I had promised myself I would get back up to Pennsylvania this fall, but failed. I don't think we've had a free weekend in ages and then there is the issue of wanting to pack up and take another trip. If she were still here and we could actually visit her and have quality time with Grandma, that would have been one thing. Maybe I'll have more get up and go in the spring and we can combine with a trip to other relatives.
It's still hard to believe, at times, that she isn't here. Not that I expect her to answer a phone or an email, but especially this year, it would have been so nice to have her a bit closer. I know she would have enjoyed the election excitement, we would have had at least one fall visit and she would have gotten to know the Little Guy that much more.
Since that's not happening, I remind myself that I simply have to keep her memory alive. I must be doing something right, as Nick is always asking about her and bringing her up in conversation. It's so healthy and such a relief that my kids know they can ask without feeling like they've upset me.
In fact, it reminds me of all that she did while she was alive. How much she accomplished, just in her attitude and behavior. How she had so many friends and was so open. She had not a racist or bigoted bone in her body.
Just as important was her ability to parent and to let go at the same time. Oh, sure, sometimes her advice made me a bit crazy. However, it was borne from a true caring and even more importantly, she would put it into action for herself.
She gave me confidence as a parent by believing in me. Not foisting her beliefs or norms on me, but trusting in me that I would do what was best for my family. Even more importantly, she loved unconditionally. Not that I ever expected to do anything that would break with her ideals, but had I, she would love me just the same.
I realize not everyone is so lucky. I often wonder about her dying so close to Thanksgiving. Then I think of the many wonderful gifts she gave me: tolerance, acceptance, an open mind...and I am so grateful beyond words.
Love you and miss you, Mom.