Sunday, April 30, 2006

9 years

I've been debating all day whether or not to post. I had a post written for today, but it's sitting on my desktop. While I like what I wrote, I don't think I'll be posting it all here.

Today it is 9 years since my mom died.

My Aunt K recently told me that my dear Uncle K was speaking at a church last month and he talked to them about my mom. It startled me for some reason. I hadn't thought about anyone else talking about her to new people. But it made me feel good to know that someone else had heard her name and a story about her and now those people would remember her.

With each year that goes by I worry that I am losing my memories of her. I sat down and made a list of all the little things I remembered about her. 62 things, because she would have been 62 right now. I was surprised at how many things I could remember. In fact, I'm pretty sure I could have listed 620 things and not run out. (For now, I'm keeping this list for myself and any close friends who knew her and would like to see it.)

So I thought about it some more and realized it's not really my memories that I'm worried about losing. I'm worried about losing her influence in my life. I know that if she were alive I would probably be running in the other direction like any good 30-something daughter. I would most likely be avoiding all of her good advice, cringing at the thought of being like or sounding like her, and generally trying my best to be my own independent person.

However, I think when you lose someone whom you love, you tend to romanticize what your relationship could have been. With the knowledge I have as a result of her being gone, I believe that I would like nothing more than for us to be close, for us to have those "Mother-Daughter" moments that Hallmark understands so well, for her to give advice that I could heed or ignore.

But instead, I have only my memories. Or at least, that's what I thought until I started writing this. I realize now that I do have her influence in my life. She built more of herself into me than I knew at first. As I get older, I see it more. It's not just about having her ears or her prematurely white hair... it's about that voice in my head. It's her voice in my memory. It's her telling me, "For the love of Pete, this room looks like a cyclone hit it! Clean it up." or "Life is about choices, you can choose to sit there or you can choose to do something about it." or "If I made French toast for breakfast, would you want some?" (hands down, best French Toast ever) or "What would I do without you?"

The last is a question she frequently asked me. She always told me that I was her favourite daughter (I'm the only one), that she loved me and then she'd ask, "What would I do without you?" When I was little, I think I would just laugh at that question and throw my arms around her neck. When I got older and was helping out around the house, I would reply, "Your own floors and windows?"

Now I know that she is still here. She comes out in the things I do and say (and oh, the things I say! She's always getting me in trouble) and in the pattern of my daily life. I guess I never really have to ask of her, "What would I do without you?"


  1. not a dry eye in the house (it could be the cold it could be your mom......)

  2. I'm teary, now. Thanks for sharing her with another new person.

  3. That's a really sweet post Steph! I'm feeling teary too all the way here in Tokyo!!

  4. Steph, what a lovely post.

  5. Uncle "K"12:28 a.m.

    Thanks Steph,

    I do talk about Sandra, your Mom.

    I do remember.

    How could one forget?

    You are the best daughter my sister could ever have had..

    Love Uncle "K"

  6. Anonymous1:42 a.m.

    Memories are like a salve to an open wound. I remember so clearly the day I took mom to visit dad's gravesite just before I was to take her away from her home..forever...she knew she would not be back. She walked to the grave with a little dried flower spray and asked me for a pen. She wrote on a piece of paper stuck to the spray and then gently placed it on the gravesite, stared at it a moment and then turned to walk away..never to see that spot again...the resting place of her beloved soulmate of 53 years. What did she want to write on a piece of paper at a time like that, I thought. I helped her to the car and then excused myself for a moment. I had to get back to the gravesite to look at that piece of paper tucked inside the flower spray. My heart melted, my eyes began to mom's final message to my dad...."Precious memories." And it was those memories that continued to bring life and laughter to her as she moved forward without him by her side. Thank you Lord for memories...they provide an avenue of hope and healing for many.

    Today we remembered .... a most loved sister and sister in law. Precious memories.

    Auntie K

  7. I love the stories you tell about your Mom and I think that enough says how much she influences you today. She sounds like a remarkable lady.

  8. Steph,
    When you are a mother, you will know how much you meant to your mom.
    I say the same things to my children "What did I ever do without you?". Your mom is probably smiling from heaven as she sees you and the person you are becoming.

  9. Anonymous10:01 a.m.

    Steph, that was a beautiful post. From the picture you posted I can see the resemblance between the two of you...and from your stories about her I can tell that you are indeed your mother's daughter...she did a great job.

  10. What a wonderful post Steph!

    And that picture is simply sweet, I can really see the resemblence bewteen you and your Mom, especially in the smile.

  11. I think of these things too. My memories are of my only sibling my 'little' brother. It will be 2 years August 2nd. Thank you for the memory of your Mom.

  12. Big hug, doll...April was the 1st anniversary for me of losing my mom and your post made me all teary-eyed, but NOT unhappy tears. Happy tears. Tears of rejoicing for the special bond that is mother and daughters. It such a complicated but ultimately, one of the most intimate relationships we have. Enjoy your memories and as for her influence, that's something given to you as a child that guides you now as an adult, and that is with you forever. You'll never lose that.

  13. Lovely post. Your mom sounded like a really fantastic woman.
    I'm going to go hug my mom now. She was a bit older than you were when she lost her mom.

  14. I lost my mom 16 yrs ago (Feb 16) and she still "speaks" to me every day. I'm thankful that she was an influence on my 3 older kids and that they are able to share their memories with my younger kids who never knew her. I hear her in things I tell my own kids and see her in them- her eyes, her toes!, her mannerisms or her crafty gene. Thanks for sharing your memories.

  15. That is a really beautiful tribute to your mother - thank you for sharing it with us.

  16. What a touching retrospective of your relationship with your dear mother! You do look like her. Thank you for posting with such honesty and sharing it with all of us.

  17. Awww, steph.
    I remember her too and think about her more than you know. She was, after all, my adoptive mom for a time... hee hee.

    She was shaking her head at me mother style all over Orlando!

    Big hug coming your way!! Mwah!

    What would Ido without YOU!

  18. What a lovely post.
    I lost my Mom 15 years ago. She is still very much a part of who I am.
    Now that I am a parent myself, I find myself thinking of her more then ever. My thoughts are with you today.