February 4th would have been my mother's 73rd birthday. She didn't make it that far. Mom died on September 22 after an illness of several months. I haven't been able to write about it until now, so deeply have I felt that loss. I won't say much now, either, but tomorrow, as I write this, her birthday approaches and I want to say what I can.
For her service, the funeral home made up a video of pictures and music of my mother. "His Eye is on the Sparrow" and "I'll Be Seeing You" were both songs we, her children and my mother, had selected for my father's funeral eleven years before (he died in 1995, before my children were born). We felt it was appropriate to chose the same music for mom. My sister chose a selection of pictures representative of the various stages of Mom's life, and the two were combined in DVD format in a poignant tribute interspersed with nature images. The final image is the one that you see elsewhere on this site, in the post that was the only tning I could manage to write even weeks after her death.
There is nothing like the death of a parent to make one feel one's own mortality. As I sit here, watching the DVD and remembering moments with my wonderful, wonderful mother, I can't help to think that years from now--hopefully many, many years--when I have passed on, and all that is left are pictures, my sons will watch them and try to remember what their mother's laugh was like, what she smelled like, how soft her skin felt. It is a humbling thought.
I asked my uncle after her burial in Tennessee beside my father, how someone gets over a loss that goes so deeply. My uncle, who had lost his brother (my father) and his wife in the same month, and who had lost his oldest son years before, told me something I would never forget. "You never get over it. But you do get past it."
I know he's right, because he is wise, so I know we'll make it through. But today, and tomorrow, it will be hard. We owe her that, I think.
Love to you, Mom.