One Year

Dear Mom,

A year ago today you left us to go be with your beloved pup, who I have to believe was very happy to see you after waiting patiently for so long.

I'm having a glass of wine tonight for/with you, I miss you terribly.

I miss you calling people "turkeys" and I miss talking to you. I can only imagine a discussion with you about the current mayor of Toronto and I'm guessing you'd have some strong feelings about the B.C. man who owns my newspaper, given his side endeavors in the oil/gas industry.

Oh yeah, I got a job...

The local newspaper hired me part-time - no, I don't know what they were smoking - and haven't fired me yet.  :)

I think you'd love it here on Vashon, I am so sad that you never had a chance to spend any time here with us. We have our own opera company. Seriously. This island is nuts but in ways I know you would have appreciated greatly.

The boys are good. You'd be pleased to know that we shipped Z off to Scotland to stay with P and M and the boys for 2 weeks this last summer. I flew him through Iceland. Everyone survived, it was a good thing. P and M are having another baby, by the way. Any day now, actually. I'm already planning a "middle child road trip" for me and E, I suspect he's going to need one.

J is growing but is still smaller than I am, which I hope remains the case. He's doing really well at the new school - they installed a platform swing for him in the classroom and he even gets to go swimming with his class every two weeks.

I will never forget how you pushed him on the swing for hours and hours when we went to Ohio to get Buddy. Or how you hid in the brush with him during the tracking practices.

We kept the plate that you had for him to use at your place. He asks for you pretty regularly and I don't know what to say. I know he wouldn't understand the reality but I don't know how to explain why he can't see you or that we can't go visit any more. I'm at a complete loss. I'm sorry you didn't get to see him again, but the last time the boys came up with me that summer was a nice visit, I hope you remembered that in those last few weeks.

Z is 17 now. Right? It's ridiculous. He's not driving yet, he actually doesn't want to right now. I'm sure that will change before too long, and I'm not feeling the need to push it. Last year was a rough one for him but things are getting back on track now. He got to go to Hawaii last summer too. He misses you. I am so glad that he was able to come with me that weekend to see you - the earthquake weekend, remember? He still laughs about your comment that Japan would be getting all its stuff back.  :)

That's also the weekend that dad had the heart attack. I know you were concerned about him. We were so close to losing him too, but he managed to pull through eventually. He was very sad about you. I thought you should know that.

Richard is doing well. The rowing crews are thriving under his stewardship and making their mark in the region and nationally. He misses you too, and is sad that he didn't get to spend more time with you. We have the harpsichord and he plays it, which I think would make you happy. I am glad that he and I had that last weekend with you, at least.

We have two cats now, Cosmo and Izzie. Don't frown at me, they're awesome, I love them. Yes, I know that means we have more animals than people in the house. Shush. They are hilarious and very cuddly, I know they'd win you over if they had the chance.

Buddy is still insane, enough said. He eats the cats' food whenever he can get away with it, which I'm sure doesn't surprise you.

Carol bought your car and says she loves it, so the little blue Honda will live on in her care. Your sweet upstairs neighbors took the dollhouse for their baby girl. She came to see you the night you passed, I'm not sure you were aware enough to know that she was there, but she was. Carol was too, actually.

When C and P and I were sorting through your place and all of the things (truly, ALL OF THE THINGS... now I know where I get the need to keep everything from), your Diva buddies came over and we had a good toast to you. That's a really great group of ladies, I am thankful you had such good friends to spend time with. They thought the world of you, and I hope they keep going to operas and maybe save a seat for you every now and then.

I miss your smile and your laugh, picking you up at the train station, browsing grocery stores - I suspect that you and I are the only two people who can go to a grocery store to just browse - eating cheeseburgers and fries on the beach at Dundarave, sharing some wine, having adventures.... remember that night I was visiting without the boys and we took the bus downtown to meet P and M for dinner? The craziness of that bus ride was awesome. So was our trip from Philly to Colonial Williamsburg. And the road trip from Vancouver to Houston when I moved and even the trip to Ohio for Buddy, which I couldn't have done without you.

I miss my mom, damn it.  You were my best friend, and the only lifeline I had when things were so awful with B. I know I never said it out loud, but you were pretty much the only person I had in the world other than the kids for so long. You were the only one who would come to stay with us when I was isolated and alone and just trying to get through each day - I know no one else would come because of B, and it meant so much that you did, even though I know it wasn't always very pleasant. You did it for me and I knew that.

Thank-you, mom.

My heart is sad tonight.

A year. Before this I could say that you were still here x months ago, which let me feel connected. But now it's been a year, farther away from when you were still here. I know this is all psychological, but it just feels worse.

I hope P and M have a girl...

We have not taken you up to the Bow Glacier yet. That's in the works for next summer, when we're all in better shape, and when I say "all" I mean mostly me. Also that's when P and M said they could come back for a visit and make the climb as well. ps. thanks for asking us to climb a damned ice mountain to scatter your ashes.

Anyway, I should probably stop rambling here soon.

I keep trying to write your story on the blog but every time I try, I just cry a lot. Maybe it's too soon, I don't know.

I have no idea what to think about the realities of the afterlife or lack thereof, my brain tells me one thing but it feels better to believe another. I like to think you are walking with Orion through the woods, watching birds and humming your favorite piece of classical music.

And that you're reading this.

Love you, mama.