Starting the work of writing the book this weekend (unfortunately, what I am doing could not yet be called ‘writing’) has brought her so close to me that I can once again smell her skin, see the way she draws circles with her toes absentmindedly when she reads, feel her laughter tickle the back of my neck.
She was magnificent. And I miss her so much.
I can’t believe I will decorate this house without her. And how is it possible that I continue to make birthday cakes for my son, without her good counsel? How dare I dream to write this book instead of having her with me?
I don’t know how any of us survive the ache of those we loved now gone. And yet, we do.
I turned 45 this weekend, and she wasn’t here to see it. She missed 44 and 43 and 42 as well. And when I turned 41 she was already in the hospital. The day the doctor said “tumor” for the first time was my birthday, and my son and I were in the hospital room with my father when he said it. She would celebrate her 70th birthday 13 days later, allowed home before the surgery, a store-bought cake instead of the elaborate dinner my father had planned. He told the restaurant to keep the deposit, his act of faith, and ignorance, in the face of so much to fear.
I always knew I would write about her, that much is clear. Now, whether that idea came from her or me, I can’t say. So much of what passed between us was hopelessly confused, hers and mine becoming the glorious “ours”—she and me against the world, just as Paul Williams sang to her when she sat in the living room in the dark, tears in her eyes, the record turning slowly on the turntable.
I love you, Mom. And I still can’t believe you’re gone.