It was a whole year before I knew that I was mourning my mother.
I mean, yes, I didn’t update this blog. But I was busy.
And I grappled with fears of death, and sadness, and despair, but those things have hung around me before. I was stressed.
And I didn’t cry for her, not really. Still haven’t, not really. Not like with my dad.
But I was mourning her and missing her. I kept starting to call her and tell her what Nathan had done. I kept starting to think, oh, we haven’t visited her in a while, I bet she misses us.
And then I’d remember.
But I couldn’t see it, until the summer ended, and it was like a light turned back on.
It’s been so different from losing my dad, so much quieter and less dramatic. Because I’m an adult with my own family, because I didn’t live close, because she was a non-dramatic person. A quiet talker most of the time, unless she was laughing.
Like me. It isn’t until I missed her that I saw so much of what she gave me.
My mom had a harsh voice, a lot like mine, rough and not all that good for singing. She had a raucous laugh too, that she gave me.
I don’t have her nose, but my son’s looks more like it every day.
She gave me her hazel-y green eyes. Her thin, straight hair. Most of my body is like hers, in fact, except for her tiny feet. I didn’t get those.
She gave me the power of being still, and the desire to move around and clean things whenever I’m talking.
She gave me her sudden spells of sadness and depression.
She gave me her deep intense love for her family even when we are all awkward and standoffish with each other.
She gave me her toughness, or her ability to pretend to be tough, to be no-nonsense, to endure.
She gave me her restless longing to travel.
She gave me her eye for color and proportion, but not her deft hands that could sew and cook and paint and polish.
She did not give me her green thumb, or her dislike of reading, or her head for numbers.
She did not give me her courage in crowds, to overwhelm others with her friendliness until they smiled and laughed too.
She did not give me her blond hair, or her love of jewelry and girly things. My lack of that made her roll her eyes more than once.
And while I would have liked her vivacity and her way with plants, I can’t complain. Because she also gave me the things I needed by working hard, for years, often at jobs she disliked. Because she showed me two things; that women are as smart and capable as men, and that there’s still a lot of prejudice out there holding them back. She didn’t know she was giving me that last part, I don’t think, though she was proud of her ability to earn money and excel. And her pride taught me to be proud of it too.
She left me some material things too. Pictures. Old emails in my account. Christmas decorations. A denim shirt. Some earrings I still wear, and some rings I don’t. A quilt and some other things that were her mother’s, and her grandmother’s
A rose from her casket that I dried and then mixed with the old rose petals I had from my dad’s funeral, from a rose on his casket, nearly 20 years ago. It’s amazing how long it takes them to disintegrate.
When I open the old teapot I keep them in, there’s still a sweet smell.
I miss you Mom. Maybe I just miss you too much to cry right now. But I do.