Monday, February 18, 2008


Today is the twenty-fifth anniversary of my mother's death. I had no idea then that this many years from the event, I could still be brought to deep sadness missing her.

This morning I got up to do my yoga and daily writing, fully intending to address something in my short story that has been bothering me. Instead, I wrote about my mom. There are two things I wish I could rewind and redo. The first is the day that I've talked about before, the day our maid called to say that my mother had drunk a bottle of wine after five years of sobriety. Looking back at all she gave up for this relapse - the most public being that she was on the board of Fellowship Hall - I realize that something had happened to cause her to feel great despair. I wish I could ask her what happened that day.

The other thing I have also written about - the day before she died. That cannot be undone either.

When I think of the legacy of this loss, the cliched admonition to never go to bed in a fight of course comes to mind. But really for me the legacy is about taking time to examine other peoples' sadness and pain, see through their anger, pick at the emotional scabs until you get blood. And to listen, really listen to their anguish. You can't take it back, you can't do it over. I needed to get it as right as I could the first time because I'm still living with my regret and she's long gone.

I know my thoughts about this have bled into my daughters' belief system too. Last night my youngest daughter was on a plane getting ready to fly home from a weekend trip. As we hung up, I said I loved her and she said somewhat impatiently that she loved me too. Not a minute after we hung up she called back and said that she really did love me and was sorry she had said it so impatiently.

Legacy of loss. Pass it on.

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