I promise this isn’t April Fool’s related. My mother died ten years ago today, and it is so like her to do it on April Fool’s Day. I have written about how it’s hurt me, how I’ve needed her guidance at times.
I’ve been mad at her for dying- if she wasn’t a smoker she probably wouldn’t have gotten cancer, and could be helping me navigate life and adulthood. I felt not only pervasive loneliness, but a nagging sense of rejection. I know she did not choose to get sick and die, for me to write her obituary when I was 24, or not get to know her grandchildren. I know this, but still, occasionally I’d have negative, misplaced thoughts.
It finally stopped hurting. I don’t really believe in ghosty things, but I was siting at my desk, working on a homework assignment. I felt a presence behind, and I saw myself from the side, but stylized like a drawing. I was seated, my mom standing behind me, wearing a flowing dark blue dress or robe. I felt warmth as her arms wrapped around me, and I heard her voice in my head say “your mother loves you and is proud of you”.
I’ve never experienced anything like that before. When Lindsay and I were first married, the bedroom door would sometimes slam by itself, even though apartments don’t typically have wind. I had a comforting visitor when I was little, only to see a picture of the man who visited me years later in a neighbor’s house. It was their long-deceased grandfather. Both of those, and a few other things I’ve experienced pale in comparison to this. So specific and personal.
I feel a sense of closure. I also think I’ve got enough people in my life who care enough about me to help steer me in the right direction.
Of course I still miss my mom, the World would be a better place if she were here. I’ve continued her work, which I need to get back to, of poverty alleviation. Before I started managing homeless shelters with 100+ guests, I had a solid education in caring for people. My mom would make big pots of stew or chili and take it to the homeless camps. We’d gather their kid’s stuffed animals, take them home, and wash and repair them. She ran the “Bear Repair Clinic” as the Outreach Director at the Boys And Girls Club. We threw birthday parties for street kids We always had a family staying with us, typically a woman and kids fleeing domestic violence.
My mom wasn’t perfect, but she tried to make things better, and cared. I hope I can pass the same compassion and selflessness to my kids.