We were living in southern California when she died. We'd been living there for 16 years - a long way from 'home' and from Mom and Gramma. To this day, I have a vivid picture of the day we moved - of her standing in their driveway, waving and crying as we drove away in our rental truck with her only three grandchildren. My eyes sting just thinking about it.
Our family would come for vacation every summer and she and my dad came to visit us fairly often, until her health didn't allow her to make the trip. One year she even came for a week in the summer (she didn't do the desert heat very well) to stay with our dog while we went on a vacation to Colorado. She didn't leave the house to go out in the 110° heat except to let the dog out and grab the mail. She said she wore only her slip the whole week (she also didn't do shorts).
I'd fly up to visit fairly frequently but it's just not the same as dropping by for coffee or having her over to help me make a costume for the girls or sharing a bite from a new recipe. She and I both grieved over the distance but I think it was harder on her.
Today, I'm living in her house. Walking up and down her stairs. Cooking in her cramped kitchen. Clipping daffodils from her garden. These are some of her beauties...
A thousand times, in a thousand ways, I remember my mom.
I miss her sense of humor. I miss her eagerness to hear any news or story about my girls. I miss her cookies in the tin box - last cupboard, top shelf. I miss her hands. I miss sharing books with her. I miss long talks with her. I miss hearing about her shopping trips with her best friend Erna and how they tried on crazy clothes together, laughing until they had to run to the restroom. I miss her letters in her beautiful, distinctive cursive. I miss encouraging her. I miss being encouraged by her.
There is so much I want to tell her. So many times I reach for the phone to call her - still! And yet, when I remember that she is now set free from every physical pain and weakness, finally able to know the love God has for her, to have answers to so many questions she had about life and to live with Christ face to face - I couldn't want anything more wonderful for her. I rejoice for her.
But for me, it is hard.
I love you Mom.