Tomorrow is my mom’s birthday. She would be 86 years old. She died from lung cancer at 73. I miss her. There isn’t a day goes by that I don’t think of her. I guess that’s pretty true of almost anyone that has lost a parent. No matter when. No matter the age. The age of the child or the age of the parent. Doesn’t matter. Parents are greatly missed when they aren’t there anymore.
My mom was what writer’s call a complex character. She would be charming and civil one minute and downright mean the next. But she never meant to be mean, I know that. Most people don’t, it just happens sometimes.
My mom’s mother could be a handful too. Maybe that’s why Mom became a little like my grandmother. Grandma took in laundry to make money to raise three kids. Her husband had left her when my mom was twelve. He came back, but not until Mom was twenty-five and had a child of her own. A little too late you might say. Mom had to hold on to herself in the midst of a depression and a time that wouldn’t tolerate fools or anyone remotely resembling a soft character. I suppose that’s part of it.
So Mom was hard on Dad sometimes. And hard on me and my brother sometimes too. But she made up for it with her dry sense of humor and her quick retorts, her fast comebacks to sass or smart words that I would dish out to her.
And she loved being with people. This seems to be a contradiction to her sometimes melancholy ways. I think she thought of people as her saving grace. I know they thought of her that way.
She was quick to make fun of herself. She made fun of her big hair, her inaptitude at housekeeping and cooking. Her driving skills were somewhat questionable and she knew it.
Her sense of self was very strong. She knew what she wanted and when. Lord help anyone that tried to get in her way, including my dad. She was stubborn that way.
When she died it was on her terms. She told my daughter she would be there for her high school graduation and she was. She made it to her 73rd birthday and had a great time with a lot of friends and relatives where she joked about not having a hat big enough to cover her large bald head. Eleven days later she died. She wasn’t supposed to go that soon. Even hospice said she had a good two or more months to go. But she wouldn’t allow it. She was stubborn that way. And I miss her.