Yesterday, I thought, “fifty-one weeks ago, my mom was alive.” It was such a sad thought. This reminder, this new mark on which I measure the world. How long since Mom died. Or, how much older or younger than when Mom died, when I see the deaths of people in the news. Like, oh, Tom Petty died ten years earlier than Mom. Or, that Oliver Sacks got six years more than Mom. What would Mom have seen if she’d lived six more years? She’d see both her granddaughters walk. S— at nine-years-old, and N— at six-and-a-half-years-old. Mom would’ve seen them both move from infants to toddlers to kids. She could have had conversations with them and they with her. Instead, S— has a sprinkling of memories of Mom. She has questions about death. Meanwhile N— has no memories of her Grandma. N— will have a few not great pictures of my mom holding her.
The metaphor I’ve settled on lately is phantom limbs. There is a ghostly aspect where I know my mom is gone, yet it feels like she isn’t or shouldn’t be, like I should be able to pick up the phone and call and Mom will answer in Michigan. She’ll listen to me. Offer words of advice. Her voice a connection that grounds me.
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