“Sometimes when I open my mouth, my mother comes out” – Unknown
Yesterday morning I texted my younger brother, “3 years today” with a sad emoji. It was 5:16 AM and I knew he would be up. Sure enough, he texted back:
“Sad day. I miss Mom every day. She was a huge part of my life and happiness.”
I smiled as I read it. My Dad, my older brother and I would agree, she was a huge part of all of our lives.
I tapped back: “I know. I have all of Mom’s quirky traits and mannerisms. My husband and Dad see it, I see it as well. So, when I notice I’m doing something Mom used to do, it feels comforting.”
Yesterday was the third anniversary of my Mom’s death. Three years. She’s been gone longer than she had cancer, cancer was only two years, nine months but it felt like forever. In the three years since she died, my older son is now driving and is fiercely independent; my younger son stands at 5’ 8”- just a mere two inches shorter than me – and is anxious to move beyond 8th grade and into high school.
My Dad continues to make it through each day without my Mom. His movements are slower, more deliberate and his memory challenges him, but he still smiles and remains happy and optimistic.
After finishing my text to my brother, I thought about my comment about my Mom’s mannerisms; how easily they had become part of my life and how when I caught myself doing or saying something my Mom used to do, I am quickly reminded of her.
Two weeks ago, my Dad got home from a fly-fishing trip to Calgary and explained to me the reason I could not reach him on his mobile. “You couldn’t get a hold of me because I left my phone in the little gray box at the security checkpoint in Calgary.”
I sucked in air through my nose, not saying a word.
“…. along with my wallet and keys.” I let the air slowly out of my nose, my eyes big, lips pursed together.
My Dad looked at me and laughed. “You look just like your Mother” and just as she would have done, I picked up the phone and called Lost and Found at the Calgary Airport. Everything my Dad had left behind was in my possession two days later.
Yes, it has been three years since her death, but she is with me each afternoon, when I make a cup of coffee, sit down on the sofa with my feet propped up on the ottoman, and take 20 minutes to read a book. She is with me each evening when I make a small dish of ice cream – two measured tablespoons of vanilla in a small glass bowl – rituals she did each day that have become my daily habits.
She is by my side when I tell the boys to stop “fiddle-faddling” and start getting ready for bed or when the terms “sleepy tired”, “donkey’s years” and “willy nilly” – some of her favorite terms – and when then come out of my mouth, I chuckle and think of my Mom.
I agree with my brother, yesterday was a sad day and I do miss her, but she left me with a legacy of quirks, mannerisms, and sayings that are now a part of my everyday life. Opening my mouth and hearing her words come out brings solace and reminds me she’s still here.