Last December, our mother died. It was a short illness, started with flu-like symptoms, ended in sepsis. I knew it was very serious, but really never believed she’d die. She was 79, which doesn’t seem old anymore.
Mom was a shopper and she loved clothes. Nice clothes. Before she died, she had taken much of her very expensive wardrobe to a consignment store from where my father is still receiving checks in the mail. We bagged up most everything else and donated it. Some items are left in the closet for the granddaughters to rummage through, as they are the only ones who can fit into her small-sized clothes.
Dad is coping as well as anyone can who lost his wife of 60 years. He also lost his driver’s license earlier in the year, so he’s had a double whammy. Not that one should compare driving to a wife, but there is a loss of independence that comes with not driving anymore. He’s still mourning his car. The family’s focus has turned to him, his physical and emotional well-being, and a new life that he is working to rebuilding at 82 years old.
My parents had a small safe in their home which I was not allowed to go into, but I knew it was filled with jewelry, as mom also loved bling. I always called it The Vault to annoy her. “Show me what’s in The Vault,” I would plead. She would always say “next time.” Now I go into The Vault and play with the jewelry like when I was a kid playing with her costume jewelry in her 1960’s jewelry box. Dad tries to recall where each piece came from, but many things are not remembered.
I’m not sure what I’m learning from this experience, but I’m trying to gain something from it. Anything that is this life-changing must bring something to gain. Maybe the best part is that my sister is committed to coming to visit once a month. It makes my dad happy. My mother would approve of that.
So, as Mother’s Day approaches, I think about it and realize I don’t really feel a great loss attached to the day. I feel the loss every day. All kids ask why there isn’t a Children’s Day and all kids get the same answer: Every day is Children’s Day. I now feel the same about Mother’s Day.