My heart is broken. Not because I lost one of the most important people of my life today, but because the loss of my mother is especially hard on my teenage daughter, Monica. I know my mother is no longer suffering, no longer in pain. She’s in peace now. But hearing my daughter cry while she’s doing dishes is killing me. Monica was the first grandchild, spoiled beyond all reason. She and my mother were very close. The younger two kids are sad but dealing in their own way. Angela, the 5-year-old has been asking a million questions about death, which I try to answer as honestly as possible, but because I’ve never died myself, can only guess at some of the answers. She did help me out, though, by telling our two dogs that grandma was dead and never coming back.
I’m thankful to have an amazing support system to lean on. My only sister is there for me and I for her. Our family has rallied behind us offering advice, a shoulder to cry on, and a giant ham (Thanks, Laurie.)
My mom was the strongest woman I knew. After my father got sick(er) while we lived in Alaska, my mother stepped up and ran our pizza restaurant with only a twelve-year-old me to help most times. My aunt and grandpa pitched in, too, but the responsibility was all on her. And the restaurant wasn’t even her dream, but my father’s. After he died, she raised two girls on her own, making sure we had everything we needed. Personally, I think she did a stellar job.
So now as I remember my mother, I let the good times we had come to the forefront: all the swim meets she always helped out at, the conversations we shared as we made dinner together, and watching her read books to her grandchildren. She’ll be sorely missed.
In her memory, I’m donating all of January’s profits from my books, Pucker Up and The Tenth Life of Mr. Whiskers, to a diabetes research charity. Hug the ones you love today for you never know if they’ll be there tomorrow.