Remembrances, Namesakes and New Beginnings

This past July 4th marked what would have been mom’s 92nd birthday. I was always so confident that she would live to her 90s, even while her condition deteriorated. I know. I was not being realistic but I was hopeful.

This holiday has become quite bittersweet for me. But I’m now able to remember all the wonderful birthdays of hers that we celebrated – watching the fireworks on the banks of the Trinity, my brother flying down and surprising her, celebrating her 89th birthday – her last – with our  future son – and daughter-in-law.

And now, we’ve been blessed once again with that one thing that mom so wanted to be present for –  her great-grandchildren. Four months after our first beautiful grandson entered our lives, comes another, and named after mom.

So welcome sweet, sweet little “L.” Welcome to the world and to our family, and know that you are named after a wonderful, fun and loving woman, and are so loved just like she was.

LEC

A Mother’s Day First, A Mother’s Day Gift

Today was a Mother’s Day first — the first without mom.

It was a day I was not looking forward to but my family and friends managed to make it a special one.

We had brunch in Dallas and D. was in from Houston. My brother thoughtfully called to check in on me and a best friend from high school, with whom I’ve reconnected with via Facebook, sent me a thoughtful message about this being my first Mother’s Day without mom; she lost hers 17 years ago. My great kids got me a new tech toy – an iPad.

We also had a funeral to go to, but it gave me a chance to be with mom, who I was going to visit anyway. It’s was strange looking down at her grave but I also felt a little at peace. The rabbi came over and said a prayer.

I continue to miss mom everyday but I’m really trying to move on. I know how angry she would be if she knew how her passing has affected me.

So mom, my Mother’s Day gift to you is to continue to move forward in the healing process, but please allow me the time. Your absence is not easy to get over that quickly.

Happy Mother’s Day. I love you.

Mother’s Day 2011

Mother’s Day

I never realized how accosted I’d feel by all the Mother’s Day advertising. Everywhere I turn it’s Mother’s Day this and Mother’s Day that, Gifts for Mom, Celebrate Mom and so on. They are all cruel reminders that mom is no longer with us.

I know this is going to be a very difficult and sad Mother’s Day for me and I’m trying to brace myself for it. And even though I’m a mom, I just don’t feel that I can enjoy and “celebrate” the day because I do not have my own mother physically with me.

Who knew that last year would be the last time we’d celebrate Mother’s Day together.

Not quite ready yet

Since mom’s hospitalization in January and later move to Hospice until her passing, I have not shopped, outside of some mandatory wedding things.

For one, I haven’t been in the mood and two, I don’t need anything.

Mom loved to shop. It was her favorite pastime, and a majority of our weekends together were spent that way.

While I’ve casually considered going into the stores we frequented, I just can’t do it. At least not yet.

But I was in the vicinity of a DSW Shoes store yesterday. And while we didn’t go there often, it was still one of the places we went to and one that I have memories of. So I thought I’d give it a try.

It was weird.

Even weirder is that right from the start I came across not one, not two but three sandal-type shoes that mom would have loved. Last year we couldn’t find anything she liked. Yesterday, I found three immediately! I chuckled to myself.

If only…

Mother still knows best

I always said mom was like Ivory soap. Just like Ivory soap was 99.44% pure, so mom was 99.44% right a majority of the time.

It’s never comfortable to talk to a parent about burial options but about a year or so after mom moved here, she said she wanted to buried here. Of course I said, “Mom, you’re not going anywhere anytime soon.”

She pursued the discussion. My next reaction was, “You don’t want to buried next to daddy and nana?”

My father and grandmother are buried in Florida where there’s a three-person family plot. Mom’s is between the two.

Mom clearly told me she wanted to be buried here because she wants to be visited! If she was buried in Florida, how often would I or anyone else visit her, she asked.

And, she had a point.

Many a time I visited mom in Florida, we didn’t always go to the cemetery because frankly, it was a trek and a pain to get to with all the traffic. I often felt badly that I didn’t go, but that still didn’t diminish how much I missed my dad and grandmother or my love for them.

About a year and a half later, T. called me after one of mom’s visits. He mentioned that mom is very adamant about wanting to be buried where she now lives. I told T. that I would talk to her about it.

And I did. And I made all the arrangements last year. And I am so glad I did.

I’ve wanted to visit her grave since the end Shloshim, the official one-month Jewish mourning period. Yesterday would have been the perfect day – the two-month anniversary of her death. I didn’t. But I will soon.

I am so thankful to have the option to visit her anytime I want.

Once again, mom knew best. Once again, thanks mom!

Why I Love Lucy

I love Lucy because:

1. She was a great mother.
2. She was easy to talk to.
3. She loved her family.
4. She gave me wonderful advice.
5. She was beautiful inside and out, although she had a subtle stubborn streak.
6. She was great company.
7. She was fun to shop with.
8. She was a good listener.
9. She was nurturing without smothering.
10. She was always 99% right (sometimes annoying!)
11. She had a great sense of style.
12. She was an incredible and talented sewer.
13. She eventually let my dachshunds Joplin and Charlie put their heads on her pillow (she never really had a choice).
14. She was my friend.
15. She was always supportive.
16. I just loved her company and loved being with her.

Brotherly Love

I love my brother.

Even though we don’t verbally tell each other how we feel, he knows that I love him and I know he loves me. And while we’ve always had a good, close relationship, mom’s death has definitely brought us even closer I feel. After all, out of our nuclear family it’s just us now.

He called me last night to thank me for sending him something, and to chastise me for continuing to blame myself for mom’s fall last September. In short,  he read an earlier post where I once again questioned this.

He was upset that I feel that I maybe didn’t do enough or could have done things differently. He has constantly told me, just like my friends and family have, what an incredible job I was doing and had done as mom’s caregiver, and how much he appreciated it. He felt bad about me doing everything and always let me know that he was there for me and that I could call anytime.

I know he’s there for me as I am for him. That’s what family is for. But I also know this grieving process is going to take me a good long time.