Five years ago today we lost my Mom.
It’s still hard to say that she “passed away” or that she “died.” Those words seem to have no bearing on my mother.
To say that we lost her somehow seems most accurate.
My sisters and I still feel a deep sense of loss.
She’s not with us.
We aren’t quite sure where she is.
After her memorial, someone said—intending to be kind—that heaven must have needed another angel. I replied angrily, Well, no one from heaven checked with me.
I still feel that way.
Cheated. Sad. Mad. Lonely.
She’s not with us, and yet she is. In our memories, in Lynn’s goodness and Jill’s mad sewing skills, in my dark eyes and Martha's laugh, in our Mom stories of chatting up strangers on buses or garage sale-ing or whistling the Hallelujah Chorus.
In dark chocolate graham crackers and diet Dr. Pepper and gooey brownies.
Today, I took Mom’s collection of heart jewelry with me to the cemetery.
Do you know how busy cemeteries are on Valentine’s Day?
I took her heart jewelry with me, and looked at it and photographed it.
I watched fat robins hopping around in the bushes. I looked up at the fir trees and breathed in the piney air.
What hit me hardest that day five years ago was knowing that my mother would never again walk the earth, see her beloved trees, inhale the cool sea air.
The heart jewelry always seemed corny to me.
She had stick pins, earrings, necklaces, bracelets, brooches, hearts of all sizes and shapes. I think now that her obsession with hearts wasn’t naïvete. It was a decision. It was a challenge.
Mom wore her heart on her sleeve, quite literally.