Today is the day I must choose different words. To leave “my mother just passed away” behind and embrace “my mother died one year ago.” It is something of a shock. It is sudden. Yet, there it is. A new year.
This is the two of us, when she was the age that I am now.
I don’t know what this day is called, the anniversary of a passing. Today, please keep my family in your thoughts.
My mother, Shirley Anne Rizzuto
April 5, 1942 – November 16, 2010
Memorial service on Sunday, November 28, 2010
Service at 1:30 pm, visitation at 12:30 pm.
Davies Memorial Chapel
Hawaii Preparatory Academy, Waimea, HI
Today is my mother’s 68th birthday. The bad news is, she doesn’t remember. The good news is, we remind her often and she always seems pleased – if surprised. And then there is the cake.
Most of us will, at some point, lose our mothers. Many have already lost her. In my family, we are losing her. Have been losing her for years to early dementia. I can’t say that this is one of the worst ways to go, since I don’t have the experience or inclination to judge other people’s loss. It has certainly been hard not to know what is left, minute to minute, month to month.
But the lack of closure in our current conjugation of the verb “to lose” also means…we still have her.
She laughs when we laugh, even if no joke preceded it. She is always ready to get into the car and go, even if she falls asleep once the engine starts in the way I used to pray that my cranky infants would. She can tell good food from junk. She follows the old songs with a bob of her head. She still trusts us – my sons and I are visiting from the other side of the country and she will follow wherever we want to take her, even if she sometimes asks who we are or marvels that there are two not quite look-alike grandsons ready to take her dark glasses off or get her seatbelt buckled.
She loves pretty things. She loves babies. She loves hugs.