It was a Wednesday. I had taken the week off of work to spend some time with Gabe at a conference in San Diego. We were home and I had three whole days left of vacation in which I had nothing scheduled.
It was morning. I was at Valley Fair, in the Gap, standing in front of a display of men’s jeans and thinking about getting some for Gabe when my phone rang.
It was my brother. And she was gone.
August 23 is a liberation day of sorts. A day in which a life that had been smothered was delivered. A day in which ten years of sorrow and grief were finally set free.
It was the day I started to breathe again, gulping great gasps of air into lungs compressed by guilt and the weight of my mother’s illness for nearly a decade. With fresh air came the ability to grieve, to cry the gallons of tears I’d been holding inside too long. And finally, to remember. Remember what life was like before. Remember how good she was, how gracious and elegant and kind.
Remember my best friend, closest confidant, nearly identical, slightly older self.
While August 23 isn’t the day on which I do most of my remembering – that day is always and forever will be Mother’s Day – it is a day that is indelibly marked. Please indulge me for a few days of remembering.
Earlier this year at a speaking engagement, I met an old friend of my mother’s. Muriel touched my cheek and whispered kind words. She told me how like her I am. A few weeks later she sent me this letter, and this card. By sharing these with you, I hope you can get just a tiny glimpse of who she was and why she is so very worth remembering.
You are absolutely right. There are no goodbyes forever, mom.
My Dear Adelle,
Here is the card that your mother sent me before I left San Jose. Had I been more clever, I would have been able to use my computer and printer to duplicate it as a card. But I’m not! Besides, my computer went kaput last night and I’m waiting for a replacement part to be shipped to me. So, I hope this will be satisfactory. As you can see, I still have one of those ancient machines called a typewriter.
I don’t know what she meant by learning from me because it was quite the other way around. Don’t remember how I was talked into helping her with the five-year-old class on Wednesday nights because I am definitely not a “kid” person! It was an experience. Her patience was incredible.
God has given you a special gift. It is so gratifying to watch you using it to bless others.
God Bless you and your family!